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Educators find A-Teacher party-list wanting

3 May 2010 No Comment

Originally posted in Philippine Daily Inquirer

First Posted 04:42:00 01/26/2010


As the school year enters its final quarter, school administrators dread the problems that a new academic year usually brings.

Schools would not need to increase their fees if only Congress had addressed some of these problems.

One problem besetting private schools is the exorbitant taxes being charged by local government units, although private schools are supposed to be tax-exempt. Another is the exodus of students with unpaid accounts (one-third of school fees have yet to be collected from the transferees) to public schools. Some of these transferees have already graduated from college. A third problem is the mushrooming of small private pre-schools that operate without permit.

Private schools have a sectoral representative in A-Teacher. But sadly, Rep. Mariano Piamonte seems helpless, although he can get elected to another term if educators vote for the same party.

Most private schools in Metro Manila were hit by “Ondoy” and those affected waited for their representatives to help. But they did not even show up. A-Teacher also received pork barrel funds to the tune of about P30 million to P35 million. Was this used to buy noodles, too? We are not after a slice of this pork, but we have the right to ask where the funds went.

Marikina schools have not fully recovered. My school, St. Nicholas in Fairlane, Marikina, was 20 feet underwater. We lost almost a million and waited for our representatives, but nothing was heard from them.

We approached the second seater, Ulan Sarmiento; surprisingly, he accommodated the Federation of Associations of Private Schools and Administrators (Fapsa). He is even willing to help the affected schools with their legal needs relative to lost transcripts which will be claimed by students, though he said he has no pork barrel since he assumed the party-list’s second seat only in June last year. He said he is no longer interested in being picked this coming election.

The Department of Education can hardly do anything about our financial woes and we expect some legislation to be passed for private schools, since we are not subsidized by the government. In fact, we have remained accustomed to this set-up—losing our end of the bargain—that we immediately consider 10 percent of our gross income thrown away as bad debt. Some member-schools do not receive their teachers’ pay during summer owing to thick promissory notes. But where is Mang Nano? I do not beg but this is the most appropriate time to know if our representative delivers on what he is supposed to.

I am afraid we might have to raise fees next school year again.

We educators tell our parents to vote wisely. I am afraid this should be observed by us first.

president, Federation of Associations of Private Schools and Administrators (Fapsa)
St. Nicholas School, Fairlane Rd.,
Fairlane Subd., Concepcion, Marikina City



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