THE House of Representatives Committee on Basic Education and Culture chaired by Pasig City Rep. Roman Romulo on Monday approved a substitute bill, as amended, establishing the Private Basic Education Voucher Program, which would repeal certain sections of Republic Act No. 6728, as amended by the “Expanded Government Assistance to Students and Teachers In Private Education Act” (Republic Act [RA] No. 8545).
Under the proposed Basic Education Voucher Program, the government will provide vouchers to recognized private basic education school for the education of kindergarten, elementary, and secondary students. The Department of Education (DepEd) shall determine the amount of the vouchers. The total amount would not be less than the amount currently provided by the DepEd. The voucher assistance for students would be based on tuition and other fees charged by the schools, and the socio-economic needs of each student.
Students who are most vulnerable and underprivileged, or those belonging to the bottom first to fifth income deciles, as determined by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), shall be prioritized for the program. The priority students would receive a higher voucher amount.
The Bureau of Private Education (BPE) under the DepEd would be created to serve as the focal office for the administration, supervision, and regulation of all matters relating to private basic education institutions, including government assistance and subsidies.
The bill substituted House Bills 928, 1723, 5589, 1585, and 7666, authored by Rep. Romulo, Laguna Rep. Ruth Mariano-Hernandez, Kabayan Party-list Rep. Ron Salo, Tingog Party-list Reps. Yedda Marie Romualdez and Jude Acidre, Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, Maguindanao del Norte Rep. Bai Dimple Mastura, Calamba City Rep. Charisse Ann Hernandez, Bulacan Rep. Salvador Pleyto, Camarines Sur Rep. Gabriel Bordado, Jr., Southern Leyte Rep. Christopherson Yap, Davao del Sur Rep. John Tracy Cagas, Camiguin Rep. Jurdin Jesus Romualdo, and Cavite Rep. Ramon Jolo Revilla III.
The committee also approved HB 3174, seeking to rationalize the allocation of the Department of Education budget for capital outlay, to address the recurring problem of classroom shortage especially in public schools. The bill authored by Deputy Speaker (DS) and Batangas Rep. Ralph Recto would amend for the purpose Republic Act 7880, or the Fair and Equitable Access to Education Act.
The committee also approved the consolidation of HBs 548, 715, 1201, 2481, 2681 and 4026, into one substitute bill. The substitute measure would regulate the class size in all public schools and appropriate funds therefor. The bills are authored by ACT TEACHERS Party-list Rep. France Castro, Rizal Rep. Emigdio Tanjuatco III, Pangasinan Rep. Marlyn Primicias-Agabas, Manila Teachers Party-list Rep. Virgilio Lacson, Pangasinan Rep. Christopher De Venecia, and Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymund ‘LRay’ Villafuerte, Jr., respectively.