President's Report

President’s Report Sept 2021

Dr. Anthony M. Tamayo

PACU Newsletter

 

 

 

As we start the “ber months,” we enter the Christmas Season with some trepidation, but with a lot of hope and joy. Despite the challenges we are facing, we have another important reason to be excited and optimistic.

 

As it stands, we are in the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic and many of us may have lost those close to us to the Lord’s loving embrace. Many of us may have friends and relatives who are COVID-positive. We have also  lost  teachers, students, employees and other stakeholders because of this crisis.  But despite the endless challenges of the pandemic and other concerns, our work in PACU and in the private education sector as a whole continues. We have to persevere.

 

I would like to express my profound thanks to our PACU  Board and the Execom  for their  guidance and support. I would also like to thank our  PACU working committee chairpersons together with their co-chairs and members for your hard work  and perseverance.  Thank you so much Dr. Vincent Fabella (Policy Committee), Engr. Bernard Villamor (Membership Committee), Ms. Laurice Juarez (Programs Committee), Fr. Manny Manimtim (Research Committee), Atty. Ada Abad, (Legal and Legislative Committee), Mr. Marco Benitez (PR Committee), Dr. Raymundo Reyes (Industry Linkage Committee), and Dr. Patricia Lagunda  (Institutional Quality and Improvement Committee) for  successfully pulling off the projects and activities lined up this  fiscal year amid the crisis.  I would also like to acknowledge our reliable and efficient secretariat led by ED Joyce Samaniego together with Ria Loscano, and AiroI Alfiler.

 

I still  hope that you will continue to  support and cooperate, especially now that the  Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations of the Philippines (COCOPEA) chairmanship has been given to PACU. I truly appreciate your presence during the formal installation rites of the  new set of  the Board of Trustees of COCOPEA in its first virtual ceremonies. I also took solace  in the fact that the great minds in education are bound together in facing one of the biggest battles in the private education sector, the immense problem  concerning  our  corporate income taxes.

 

CREATE Law Revenue Regulation: A Call for Unified Action  

 

The private education sector withstood  the myriad disruptions in our VUCA environment such as the K to 12  basic education program and free  higher education tuition in state and local  colleges and universities. While we are still facing the COVID-19 pandemic, the “mother of all disruptions,” the problematic Revenue Regulation (RR) 5-2021 came upon us.  The schools and its stakeholders are now under greater siege. At the macro level, our human capital development, nation building and competitiveness  have also been adversely affected.

 

Likewise, another major endeavor that COCOPEA together with other private educational organizations and institutions are pursuing, through the leadership of PACU, is the clarificatory legislation on SECTION 27(B) of the national internal revenue code of 1997 (NIRC) to remove any and all doubts on the preferential income tax rate of 10% granted by law to proprietary educational institutions, and the concessionary income tax rate of 1% from June 2020 to July 2023 under the CREATE Law.  For more details on the Create Law, please refer to the Legal Updates section of this newsletter by Atty. Ada Abad.

 

Mother Teresa once said, “Together we can do great things.”  PACU along with our colleagues in COCOPEA, have  joined forces and held endless meetings to discuss strategies to be undertaken by HEIs  to correct  the erroneous provisions of RR 5-2021. The corporate income taxes was pegged by the CREATE Law at one percent for the period between 2020 to 2023 as a form of relief for schools during the pandemic then the corporate income taxes will be brought up to the regular corporate income tax rate of 25 % by 2023 onwards. This change is a 150 percent increase from the original and rightful preferential corporate income taxes of 10 %.   BIR RR no. 5-2021 further states that requires proprietary educational institutions to be “non-profit” entities before they can enjoy the 1% recovery income tax rate under the CREATE Act. This requirement puts proprietary educational institutions in imminent danger of being subject to the regular corporate income taxes of 25%, which is directly contrary to the spirit of the CREATE Act and the Constitution, the fundamental law of the land to which all other laws must adhere. 

 

We exhausted administrative remedies.  Aside from conducting surveys, we also consulted experts and requested member schools to give their advice and support. We submitted  more than 10 letters to the Senate, House of Representatives, Department of Finance (DOF), Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), Department of Education (DepEd) and Commission on Higher Education (CHED) as well as more than 40 letters of the same content sent to different addressees, all on  the CREATE RR. We have intensified our signature campaigns in schools.  A total of 624 schools signed the petition to DOF Secretary  Dominguez and 600 schools signed the petition to President Duterte regarding Revenue Regulation No 5 S 2021. Around 5,500 school administrators, teachers, staff and students signed an online petition urging President Duterte to intervene in the rectification of BIR RR 5-2021. We have published open letters in newspapers and social media as well. When we learned that the DOF and the BIR denied our appeal to correct the detrimental provisions of the said revenue regulation and revenue memorandum circulars, we had to go through the judicial route. 

 

Furthermore, through our collective efforts and the support of many legislators, House Bill No. 9913 was approved on 3rd Reading by the House of Representatives and now elevated to the Senate for its counterpart bill as required by the Constitution on tax measures. Senate Bill No. 2272 has been approved at the level of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means and now scheduled for Second and Third Reading. We are hopeful that SB 2272 will be approved before the session of the Senate breaks on the early part of October for the filing of certificates of candidacy of those running for the 2022 National Elections. 

 

These measures aim to clarify with finality  the spirit of the law that  all proprietary educational institutions are granted the preferential tax rate of 10%, which they have been entitled to since 1968. At present, this tax rate was pegged by the CREATE Law at 1% for the period 2020 to 2023 as a form of relief for schools during the pandemic.

 

The enactment of this clarificatory law will certainly help all stakeholders – proprietary educational institutions, as taxpayers, and its stakeholders of faculty, school personnel, students, and even the informal industries relying primarily on the continuous operations of these schools (i.e. carinderias, uniform makers, shuttle services, printers, food kiosks, among others).  

 

Ultimately, when the final bill is signed into law, it will ease  concerns on our survival, resiliency and sustainability as well as allow us to focus our attention on our respective missions which include nation building  through  fulfilling our complementary role of helping the government provide quality education to our students.

 

In this view, I would like to extend our sincere thanks to Senator Sonny Angara for immediately leading the sponsorship of SB2272, and to his 13 co-authors  especially   Senator Pia Cayetano for urgently acting as Ways and Means Committee Chairperson;  the  members of the House of Representatives for their efforts in marshaling the bill in the Lower House; Representative  Joey Salceda, Ways and Means Committee Chairman; Deputy Speaker Rufus Rodriguez; Chairman Sharon S. Garin, Committee on Economic Affairs along with the other four (4) principal authors Representative Francisco Benitez, Representative Mark Go, Representative Joy Tambunting and Representative Luis Villafuerte as well as the 70 co-authors of HB 9913 who have been very supportive of our plight.  We at PACU are delighted that the members of the House of Representatives and the Senate have listened to the call of the private education sector to save it from further economic peril.

 

In addition, I would like to acknowledge the efforts of  the Policy Committee vice-chair Pres. Fred Ayala, for spearheading  the resolution of our tax problems, COCOPEA Managing Director Atty. Joseph Estrada, PACU legal team headed by Atty. Ada Abad, other members of COCOPEA/PACU “CREATE team,” Pres. Guillermo Torres, Jr., Chancellor Vicente Pijano, Pres. Caroline Enriquez, COO Dr. Christopher Tan, Pres. Bernard Villamor,  Pres. Marco Benitez and Pres. Fay Lauraya for their relentless efforts in helping get these bills to where they are right now.  Thank you also to Sr Marissa Viri, RVM of  CEAP,  Judge Benjamin Turgano,(Ret) of ACSCU, Dr. Lourdes Almeda-Sese of PAPSCU, Fr. Onofre Inocencio Jr., SDV of TVSA as well as to  Chancellor Vicente Pijano III, Davao Colleges and Universities Network (DACUN), Association of Private, State Colleges, and Universities in Region XI (APSCUR XI);  Atty. Remelisa Alfelor- Moraleda, Bicol Association of Private Colleges and Universities (BAPCU); and  Engr. Bernard Villamor, CESAFI Association of Cebu Private Schools. 

 

I am confident that with all your support and fervent prayers, the Senate will swiftly pass their counterpart bill Senate Bill 2272, which will facilitate a law clarifying the grant of a preferential tax rate at 10%. With the country’s ongoing learning crisis, we should focus in delivering quality education to our learners, who we must develop to be the future leaders and  a part of the competitive workforce of our country.

 

This legislation would finally provide stability on the policy environment affecting the tax regime of proprietary educational institutions by clarifying the correct interpretation of the law in favor of proprietary educational institutions. Ultimately, this law will put an end to the fears of many proprietary educational institutions that at any time they could be assessed by the taxing authority for deficiencies using the erroneous income tax rate.

 

Optional Limited Face to Face (F2F) Classes in Higher Education

 

As we continue to thrive in the new normal, we have also pushed the approval of  limited optional F2F classes, which led to the CHED and DOH Joint Memorandum Circular  (JMC) 2021-001 regarding the guidelines on the gradual reopening of HEIs for limited optional face-to-face instruction.

 

This JMC is one of the biggest achievements of the TWG of CHED on flexible learning with Dr. Caroline Enriquez, Dr. Cristina Padolina, Mr. Augusto Fabella, and Dr. Edizon Fermin as members. Early this year under the JMC, the following programs were approved Medicine, Nursing, Medical Technology, Physical Therapy, Public Health, and Midwifery was approved.  After  two months,  CHED released  JMC titled  the “Guidelines on the Conduct of Clinical Internship for Dentistry, Respiratory Therapy, Pharmacy, Radiologic Technology, Occupational Therapy,  Nutrition and Dietetics, Master of Science in Nursing, and Master of Science in Asian Health Practices courses. Just recently,  CHED and DOH issued an amendment to  JMC No. 2021-001 entitled “Guidelines on the Gradual Reopening of Campuses of HEIs for Limited face-to-face classes during the COVID-19 pandemic.” For HEIs located  in ECQ, MECQ and GCQ with heightened restrictions areas, CHED may give them authority to conduct limited optional F2F classes in compliance with the JMC.  

 

There is an urgent need for the country to have more healthcare workers. We have to do our best to continue delivering quality education so that our students can graduate, pass the board exam and serve the country. We should do our share in providing a safe learning environment for our students, faculty and staff.

 

Furthermore, we hope that succeeding policy recommendations in the pipeline such as Engineering, IT, Maritime, and Hotel and Restaurant Management programs will soon be approved.

 

SHS Implementation in SUCs/LUCs

 

Meanwhile, at a  meeting with CHED, the Guidelines for SHS implementation of LUCs and SUCs were discussed.   We reminded the CHED  of  their Memo no 33 s 2015 that their SHS operation shall be limited to the K to 12 transition period only – SY 2016-2017 to SY 2020-2021.  Hence, they shall no longer accept SHS students unless they are a teacher-education institute and  should follow the prescribed enrollment caps.

 

UniFAST

 

Recently, I also joined the UniFast board where standing issues on the enrollment caps and opening of oversubscribed courses in SUCs were discussed. We need to urge UniFAST to show the ongoing trend on tuition fee caps that the governing board of the SUCs approved. The number of freshmen to be accepted every year shall be based on enrollment capacity of each university based on faculty-student ratio, available classrooms and available faculty to ensure the quality of education. This concern is being reported to the CHED so there is no reason why the UNIFAST Board shouldn’t know. The same policy applies to LUCs. This is based on UNIFAST MEMO CIRCULAR 2018-02, Rule II (3). 

 

Meanwhile, UniFAST released the interim guidelines to ensure the faster implementation of the Tertiary Education Subsidy (TES) considering the difficulties brought about by the  COVID-19 pandemic and the provisions of the JMC of the UniFAST DBM-JMC. Now, the first semester TES need not be liquidated before the second semester TES is released. Also, electronic submissions are allowed. However, after 60 days  at the end of the second semester, all original documents should be submitted  and the TES should be fully liquidated.  

 

PEAC

As a member of the PEAC, I participated in several meetings,  in the crafting of the  Memorandum of Agreement with DepED for SY 2021-2022.  PEAC will once again serve as the  implementer of Expanded Government Assistance to Students and Teachers in Private Education E-GASTPE.  It is hoped that the DepED will sign the said MOA soon.

In addition, PACU  joined PEAC in its information drive for the participation of schools in  its various programs. The certification and orientation seminars for participating schools were held for GATSPE SY 2021-2022. The focus was on the 2021 orientation on the ESC, TSS Programs and SHS Voucher Programs. 

Committee Reports

Policy Committee

The PACU Board and the Policy Committee met with CHED Chairperson Prospero “Popoy” de Vera III to discuss the extension of the “autonomous” and “deregulated” status of schools as well as the application for the Center of Development (COD) and Center of Excellence (COE). In April, the Commission released CMO no. 07 s. 2021, or the “Extension of the Validity Period of Autonomous and Deregulated Status Granted to Private Higher Education Institutions from June 1, 2021 to May 31, 2023.” Based on the order, 46 PACU member schools had been granted or had their “autonomous” and “deregulated” status extended until May 31, 2023. 

On the timeline on the processing of applications to increase tuition and other school fees (TOSF) for AY 2021-2022, consultation was adjusted from February to May and submission was adjusted from April 1 to before July 1. The CHED had urged the group to implement a “no tuition increase” policy except for miscellaneous fees.

 

In another development, PACU was  a signatory to the PBED Statement released on April 19 titled “Teachers are frontline workers: COVID-19 vaccination priority.” Teachers  are advanced from the B1 category to A4 for the delivery of an essential public service – education.  We were part also of meetings with the IATF and Senate calling for the prioritization of teachers. There was a Senate Resolution to this effect and  Atty Ada released several advisories on allowing skeletal workforce in schools during the ECQ/MECQ periods.  Protecting teachers from the virus will build confidence in our education system and will fast track the safe reopening of schools. We are working with DepEd in the crafting of guidelines for the pilot face to face classes in basic education schools. 

 

Legal and Legislative Committee

PACU also joined the E-GASTPE Congressional hearings, which provide government  financial assistance  to elementary students  so they can continue  their education and  to teachers so they can  further develop their professional skills.

In addition, we participated in the Senate hearings on the creation of  the Congressional Commission on Education Act (EDCOM 2).  Its purpose is to assess and evaluate the state of  Philippine education and recommend disruptive and targeted reforms in education.  

PACU and COCOPEA also joined  forces for another vital piece of legislation in Senate Bill 2312, or an “Act Establishing the Teacher Education for Achievers Program to Improve the Quality of Teachers in the Philippines.” This bill is meant to address the learning crisis and respond to the call for the examination of the effectiveness of a teacher certification system as well as the quality of graduate education for teachers. 

To implement the program, the State shall provide scholarships to qualified applicants to enable them to pursue education and training in the areas of learning and education 

 

Industry Academe Committee

I would also like to acknowledge the Industry Academe Linkages Committee for  bridging the gap between the academe and the industry through the “Usapang Industriya” project. The  objective is to foster greater collaboration and new partnerships within and outside the education community to help colleges and universities anticipate and address the challenges of the times and contribute to nation building.

The webinar series was held at different months of the year. Our Lady of Fatima University and Wesleyan University hosted the first webinar on Health Sciences. The University of Iloilo conducted  a session on Engineering while Jose Rizal University and  REX Bookstore presented the session on Business, Management and Accountancy. In  the upcoming sessions, Mapua University will host the IT professional industry while the University of Perpetual Help System DALTA and Lyceum of the Philippines University will tackle HRM and tourism tracks. 

We are also conducting two parallel trainings on Cloud Computing with Amazon Web Services through their AWS Academy Quick Start Program and Microsoft Azure Virtual Training. The certification fee is free and subsidized by our partners at AWS and Microsoft exclusively for PACU members.

 

Membership Committee

 

One of the vital functions of the Membership Committee is to bring our community closer together. We conduct our “PACUmustahan” where we meet regularly every second Wednesday of the month to get in touch with the general members and open up institutional challenges that we similarly face, and suggest/share solutions and best practices. This activity is also an opportunity for our suppliers to present their products and services. In the months of March to September, some of  our potential partners and suppliers such as Sebitech, ClassIn, Cloudswyft, Schoolista, Edusuite, Frontlearners, Bukas, InvestEd Philippines, and Lecturio joined the PACUmustahan.

 

Membership and Programs Committees, plan to improve communication among members. The goal of this effort is to increase active participation in PACU activities. We are reiterating their call for more members to join the various committees in PACU. Only by working together can we achieve the objectives of the association.

 

As of August 2021, PACU has 195 members, 54 (28%) from NCR, 91 (47%) from Luzon, 25 from Visayas (13%), and 25 (13%) from Mindanao. Strategically, there are advantages to being a member of PACU. Because of this demonstrated value-proposition, we expect more members to be active and new institutions to join us.

 

The Membership Committee has also updated the membership profiles and will later process four pending applications.

 

Programs Committee

The Programs Committee created the PACU Community of Practice (COP), an online Facebook group for PACU members which aims to develop educators, staff and leaders in Higher Education through creative collaborations that connect backgrounds, resources, geographies, and disciplines. Such as the Community pantry concept, this  activity is a safe space specially created for faculty members, school administrators and staff and feel free to participate in the conversations and share ideas as well as resources. We also have the regular “PACUwentuhan” weekly gatherings every Friday afternoon. Join now in our very own professional learning community! The PACU COP has now 145 members since its launch in June.

During the first quarter of the year, PACU also conducted several vaccination information campaigns for our stakeholders to disseminate more knowledge about COVID-19 vaccines and to enlighten them on the different views on vaccines. We have produced an online communication material on Frequently Asked Questions about vaccines and vaccination.

Furthermore, PACU has conducted a webinar series entitled “Private Education Planning for COVID-19 Vaccines.” We were very fortunate to have a powerhouse group of resource speakers: Rev. Fr. Nicanor Pier Giorgio Austriaco, OP; Dr. Enrique Tayag, and Dr. Anna Ong-Lim. Part 2 of the webinar learning series was graced by Dr. Beverly Lorraine Ho, Mr. Guillermo Luz, Dr. Rizzy Alejandro and Dr. Manuel Montinola and Dr. Nancy Bermal from Unilab. We discussed the National Deployment and Vaccination Plan and how it will be implemented by the national government, local government units, as well as partners in the private sector to reach the target population with the goal of minimizing if not eliminating COVID-19 related deaths and hospitalizations.

In addition, we have also responded to the call of CHED to designate our campuses as vaccination sites to help LGUs reach their desired vaccination rates. PACU schools with Medicine and Nursing programs were also tapped by Chairman Popoy De Vera and Sec. Vince Dizon to take part in bumping up the vaccination program as the surge of the DELTA variant has forced an influx of new infections.

In June, PACU joined UNILAB in bringing “Usapang Bakuna, Usaping Pampamilya” with Dr. Anna Ong-Lim, Dr. Karl Henson and Dr. Joseph Adrian Buensalido as resource speakers. ED Joyce Samaniego also shared how schools are preparing for limited face to face classes and the need for vaccination among teachers and school employees.

In addition, PACU organized a two-part webinar series with PLDT on “E-industry: Online Forum for E-Learning and the E-bossing Online Classes. Pres. Anthony Tamayo together with the PLDT Executives and technology providers talked about online learning during the pandemic and the efforts of CHED, the Academe and School leaders to quickly transform brick and mortar classrooms to 21st century “blended/online learning” counterparts. It also presented back to school plans that empower students as well as teachers studying and working from home. 

Moreover, we held two webinars with our partner, ClassIn. The first webinar is on “The Hybrid Campus: Redesigning our Schools and the Student Experience.” The other webinar was entitled: “EdTech Coaching 101: How to Guide Teachers Integrate Tech Meaningfully in the Pandemic” co-presented with ClassIn, PEAC and CEAP.

We also organized a webinar with the Credit Card Association of the Philippines (CCAP) on Credit education awareness, proper handling and building good credit history through financial instruments.

I would also like to thank the member schools that participated in our Voters Education Campaign.  We held the “Ambang sa Bayan Ko” forum with Hon. Rowena V. Guanzon, Commissioner of the Commission on Elections (Comelec), Atty. Mildred Ople of Asia Foundation and COCOPEA MD Atty. Joseph Estrada. This campaign is part of our advocacy and participation in voter education as this coming elections will be vital due to the ongoing pandemic.  We also reminded our youth that the voter registration will end on September 30, 2021. 

 

Furthermore, PACU will forge a partnership with HABI and Facebook for their Digital Tayo Program. This partnership will allow PACU to access modules created for  Technology and Teaching and Learning (TTL 1) and Technology and Teaching and Learning (TTL 2) and Building and Enhancing Literacies in the 21st Century (BEl) to enhance literacy skills for 21st century learning.  With Habi, we can collaborate with other schools and share our best practices, stories and curiosities on well-designed learning experiences.

 

Institutional Quality and Improvement Committee

As a prelude to Annual PACU General Assembly, we have also launched the PACU Leadership and Management Perspective (LAMP) Summit. Two LAMP Summits  are scheduled in September and November this year. This summit is a series of fora where school leaders can share challenges to quality management that they have confronted, resolved or remain unresolved. The objective is to gather the presidents to talk about the non-academic aspects of our institution like building connections, sharing challenges, finding areas of collaboration and reframing problems. Our first LAMP forum with the theme “Quality Management for Non-Academic Aspects of School Operations During the Pandemic” was held last Sept 9. Again, thank you to our speakers  Dr. Caroline Enriquez, Dr. Michael Alba, Dr. Raymund Reyes,Ms. Paz Malubay, and Mr. Jason Villa.  I hope that we have more participants in our second forum on November 11, 2021 entitled: “Managing Quality Teaching and Learning During the Pandemic.” We thank our sponsors: PEAC and Globe Go Learn (Major sponsors) and C&E Logic (Minor sponsor) and we are  especially grateful to  Habi Education Lab for being our workshop facilitators and co-organizers. 

We  have also partnered with Franklin Covey Institute to deliver a workshop entitled “The Business of Education: Preparing Students for a Changing World” this coming November.  This  workshop will be attended by no less than Mr. Sean Covey, President of Franklin Covey Education and son of Stephen R. Covey, author of the “7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” We will launch the LeaderU program of the Institute wherein School Administrators, Faculty and Students can join.

 

Public Relations Committee

 

PACU has three main communication channels: the PACU website, PACU FB page and PACU newsletter.

The PACU FB page has 3,800 likes and 5,500+ followers and will be updated regularly with announcements and activities of the association for the information of our members and the general public. The FB Page includes regular announcements, greetings, congratulatory messages, Senate and House committee hearings, webinars such as PBEd fora on the learning crisis and private education, relevant news articles among others.

The main thrust for the past few months was the CREATE campaign. The group also launched an FB page called Save Private Education which has now gained 5,000+ likes and 5,200+ followers since June 5, 2021. Several articles were published in major broadsheets and online platforms.

The committee issued two newsletters: October-February 2021 Vol. XI-I issue with 76 pages and February-September 2021 Vol. XI-II issue with more than 100 pages.

Research Committee

I would like to thank  the Research Committee for exploring  the research on resiliency of learning modes under the pandemic where we intend to adopt the survey on “schooling under the new environment” done in FEU to other schools. The committee is also looking into the possibility of  converting the tests conducted by Dr. Marcos Lopez and CEU on Critical Thinking to an online form.

In addition, our research entitled, “A Framework for Guiding the Complementary Roles of Private and Public Educational Institutions in the Philippines” is now on its 3rd phase.   The first phase of the study provided an overview of the Philippine education system as a whole and lays out the logic of a mixed education system and key ideas for balancing and optimizing the mixture of public and private education contributions.  In the second phase, the study intends to focus on basic education in investigating policy and strategic options for strengthening public-private complementarity.

Before I end, this pandemic has significantly affected our sources of income and forced us to “tighten our belts.”  But with your contributions and regular payment of membership, PR and Director’s fees and paid corporate sponsorships, PACU has maintained its financial stability.

Hence, I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to those who have donated to PACU funds that supported our webinars, workshops and other activities. 

 

As we said at the beginning of this report, we have reasons for hope and optimism. We believe our lawmakers will do the right thing and present a viable and acceptable amended CREATE Act for Malacanang’s signature.  

We shall continue with our webinars to keep our members apprised of key developments on issues like the use of technology in learning, which is vital during the pandemic. 

Also, studies have shown individuals and groups grow closer after going through a crisis. We believe we can only grow closer through the shared experiences that we have gone through so far. After all, there is indeed strength in numbers. 

Finally, as we near the Christmas season, we can look forward to a time  for celebrations. We can have reason to hope that the Good Lord will hear our prayers, watch over us and keep us safe.

Dr. Anthony Jose M. Tamayo

 

More than a decade ago, when I joined the Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities (PACU) as one of the members of the board, I welcomed the opportunity to serve and to help advance the interests as well as the welfare of my fellow members.  The role of a PACU officer is challenging, but being part of a prestigious organization such as PACU is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of service and dedication.  I find fulfillment in helping realize its vision of nation-building through transformative private education.  


Being elected as the 49th President of PACU, particularly during these unprecedented times, is an immense challenge. While we were reciting our Oath of Office during the induction as PACU officers last December 18, 2020, I felt the task of serving my fellow members weighing heavier than before. We live in extraordinary times. The realities of a VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous) world, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, have severely affected our lives and our livelihood. Under this age of flux, we have had to change the way we do things, how we work and how we live.

However, despite the situation, PACU has not lost sight of its goals.  I would like to profoundly thank President Caroline Enriquez and the previous board for having successfully steered PACU since the early and crucial part of the pandemic until we, the 2020-2022 board, assumed our new positions in October last year. We recognize and acknowledge the same group for their continuous service and sacrifice for the betterment of private education. The otherwise unprecedented heavy workload has considerably lightened because of the reassuring cooperation and teamwork among the present PACU board and officers, as well as the general membership. I also take solace in the fact that I will be working with the board and Exe-com who are considered the best minds in the field of education. I have witnessed how they led PACU in re-inventing education, changing our business models, and courageously pushing for PACU advocacies. These initiatives have made the schools more agile, innovative, and responsive in the delivery of quality education to its member students during these disruptive times. 

 

Meanwhile, after another smooth transition, we hit the ground running with several vital activities and we are now approaching the fourth month. Some of these important activities include our dialogues with the government agencies as well as the organizational meeting, several committee meetings, two regular board meetings, one expanded board meeting, and four “Kamustahan” sessions where matters pertaining to the current concerns, updates, and plans of PACU were discussed. Other important activities will be discussed in the latter part of this report. We likewise organized the first hybrid induction of the board of trustees and installation of the new officers, which was attended by key public officials from the Senate, Congress, and CHED, as well as the presidents of the member associations under the Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations (COCOPEA) and the Private Education Assistance Committee (PEAC).

 

Dialogues as Pathways to Change

 

On November 27, 2020, we held a virtual courtesy call and dialogue with the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Chairperson, J Prospero de Vera III, where we inquired into the possibility of gradual, optional, and limited resumption of face-to-face classes, consolidation of the recommended substitutes for OJT/Practicum and RLE, as well as the synchronization of requirements for graduation set by the CHED Technical Working Group (TWG) as well as the board examination given by the Professional Regulatory Board (PRB).  Chairperson De Vera also emphasized the gradual opening of programs for the optional limited face-to-face classes subject to safety requirements.  Lastly, he added that the TWGs should include more industry experts and practitioners. 

 

In January this year, Malacañang, through Executive Secretary Medialdea finally approved the CHED DOH Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) for the following programs: Medicine, Nursing, Medical Technology, Physical Therapy, Public Health, and Midwifery. We are also awaiting CHED approval for the release of the JMC supplemental annexes for the other allied health programs that include Pharmacy, Dentistry, Radiologic Technology, Occupational Therapy, Respiratory Therapy, Nutrition and Dietetics, Master of Science in Nursing, and Master of Science in Asian Health Practices. 

 

Moreover, in a meeting with Chairman De Vera, the PACU Officials advanced the following issues and concerns: (1) improving internet connectivity and reliability as well as negotiating special rates or subsidies for students and faculty in private HEIs; (2) extending the autonomous/ deregulated status and COE/CODs of schools; (3) revisiting policies especially for flexible learning which includes adjusting school operations to accommodate EETEAP distance learning and open distance learning; (4) CHED monitoring of the maximum enrollment caps/quotas and seating capacity in  SUCs; (5) increasing the TES for private HEIs; (6) addressing accreditation concerns; (7) providing both teaching and non-teaching personnel with access to teacher training and upskilling as part of their continuing education. 

 

Meanwhile, on scholarship matters, an increased need for student and faculty grants is expected, as a result of the economic crisis brought by the pandemic. These scholarships would certainly benefit families seeking to ensure the continued education of their children and also private schools that have experienced a decline in enrollment.  In coordination with the CHED, PACU recommended the allocation of funds to the Bayanihan 2 for Higher Education Tulong Program (B2HELP). This grant provides each HEI a Php 5,000 subsidy for 30 students who are not TES recipients; priority is given to 3rd and 4th- year students with high outstanding balances. Furthermore, more than 30,000 students will receive a Php 30,000 one-time grant, to be sourced from the Php 1 billion scholarship fund of DOLE and UniFAST’s Tabang Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) program. This program seeks to assist college students who are dependents of repatriated, displaced, and deceased OFWs. We have also disseminated information regarding the GSIS Educational Loan or the “Study Now, Pay Later Program” available to all GSIS members for their nominated student beneficiaries. The loanable amount is a maximum of Php 100,000.00 per school year or up to Php 500,000 in five years.  Applications are likewise open for the Scholarship of Instructors Knowledge Advancement Program (SIKAP) Grant that HEI faculty enrolling in advanced studies in local universities and colleges may avail. Full information on the eligibility requirements and the application process are contained in the CHED Memorandum Order 6, s. 2020 and its implementing guidelines.

 

We have also met with Atty. Lily Freida Milla, Head of CHED International Affairs, together with presidents of medical schools represented by Dr. Jose Campos, Dr. Carol Enriquez, and Dr. Luz Hammershaimb. One recommendation made during the meeting was to prioritize foreign medical students in the vaccination program so they can help in LGU immunization activities. As for the clerkship program, medical schools will obtain approval for online delivery, reduced clinical rotation hours, and online case simulation. Further, we have also asked CHED to lobby with the Indian Medical Council to extend by a year or two; the latter’s recognition of virtual rotation as practices last school year when the pandemic started. 

 

In addition, we have requested CHED to extend, until May 28, 2021, its deadline of submission of required documents on proposed increases in tuition and other fees. This extension allows us ample time to prepare the documents to be submitted to our respective CHED regional offices.

 

PACU has also requested the Department of Education (DepEd) for the earlier disbursement of the SHS Voucher payouts to private schools, ahead of the semester to be billed. In doing so, private schools can receive the funds meant to help defray school operation expenses, which are normally covered by tuition fees. Another request made was for DepEd to extend the deadlines for the submission of application for a tuition Fee increase for SY 2021-2022. This request was acted upon and recommended by Planning Director Roger Masapol to the DepEd Executive Committee. Specifically, the recommendation was to extend (1) the consultation period to June 30, 2021; and (2) the submission of documentary requirements and/or application period to August 15, 2021. In another dialogue, this time with the DepEd, we underscored that this school year will be the last year that their department would be issuing vouchers to Grades 11 and 12 and permits to LUCs and SUCs, as part of the program for transitioning to K to 12. In another virtual meeting with the DepEd and COCOPEA officials, PACU encouraged DepEd to study how the excess capacity in private schools can be used to complement the public school system through vouchers and other assistance measures. Here, we underscored the need for increased complementarity between public and private schools.

 

Moreover, when the COCOPEA board met in December 2020 for a midterm review of its strategic plan, Dr. Vincent Fabella and the PACU representatives emphasized that COCOPEA should focus only on two areas: 1.) Intermediate Result (IR) 2 -“policy environment for private education is improved” especially on policies promoting and protecting a level the playing field between public and private education as well as the harmonization of the education agencies 2.) IR 3 -“increasing funding and support for private education institutions” through approved laws and proposed bills.

 

We have joined COCOPEA’s collective voice in improving teacher quality in the Philippines through our participation in Senate Bill No.1887 sponsored by Senator Win Gatchalian, Chairman of the Basic Education Committee.  The bill seeks to enhance the quality of basic education in the Philippines by improving the quality of teachers and school leaders and strengthening the teacher education council. We have also participated in discussions in the lower house on their counterpart bill, filed by Basic Education Committee Chairman, Representative Roman Romulo. We have also attended, together with COCOPEA, other congressional hearings headed by Representative Romulo, to seek support for the expansion of the E-GATSPE Law to the elementary level. The voucher system will be extended to private elementary school students, particularly those in Grade 4 to 6. The bill also aims to extend the Teacher Salary Subsidy (TSS) to SHS and increase the actual TSS amount. 

 

Furthermore, a productive dialogue ensued between the COCOPEA and the Professional Regulatory Commission (PRC), regarding the issue of board exam requirements versus the CHED technical working group’s requirements for graduation. There was an effort to reconcile and clarify the requirements of the two groups. Meanwhile, we have also joined COCOPEA in writing a joint letter to the UniFAST board to reinstate PEAC as fund manager of the Tertiary Education Subsidy (TES).  Furthermore, CHED UniFAst sought legal opinion from DOJ for the renewal of PEAC’s service contract and whether CHED can come into an agreement to cover 2021-2022.

 

The Membership Committee: Keeping the PACU Community Together 

 

One of the objectives of the “Kamustahan” is to bring our community closer. The Membership Committee, headed by Engr. Bernard Villamor plans to streamline and improve communication among members as well as update the profiles of members. The committee also seeks the assistance of area Vice Presidents in eliciting increased engagement from the general membership or active participation in PACU activities and committees.  In this view, we are calling on more members to join the various committees in PACU. Furthermore, the committee also intends to visit provisional accepted members once the situation returns to normal.

 

Policy Committee: Advocating a Better Normal for Schools through Responsive Government Policy Interventions

 

The PACU policy committee is led by Dr. Vincent Fabella, together with Dr. Carol Enriquez, Dr. Chito Calingo, Dr. Rey Vea, Mr. Fred Ayala, Dr. Faye Lauraya, Dr. Tina Padolina, Dr. Ester Garcia, Dr. Pat Lagunda, Dr. Karen De Leon, and Atty. Ada Abad as well as COCOPEA Managing Director Atty. Joseph Estrada paved the way for the approval of the CHED and DOH Joint Memorandum Circular  (JMC) regarding the guidelines on the gradual reopening of HEIs for limited optional face-to-face instruction particularly in the conduct of clinical clerkship, RLE, and practicum for the following allied health programs: Medicine, Nursing, Medical Technology, Physical Therapy, Midwifery, and  Public Health. Thank you very much to Dr. Carol Enriquez and the rest of the committee for spearheading and for finally making this plan a reality. We recognize the contributions of the different PACU members in drafting the recommendations on conducting RLE and OJT in the different programs, which we submitted to CHED and thereafter became part of the JMC annexes.  Furthermore, we hope that succeeding policy recommendations by the TWG would include the non-allied health programs. Again thank you to the TWG on the flexible learning committee composed of Dr. Cristina Padolina, Mr. Augusto Fabella, Dr. Caroline Enriquez, and Dr. Edizon Fermin for representing PACU and furthering the interest in private education.  

 

Just recently, Dr. Fabella and I participated as key informants in the USAID Science, Technology, Research and Innovation for Development (STRIDE) focus group discussion conducted by senior consultant Prof. Jose Tabbada. The dialogues were about the assessment of its current organizational structure and functions of CHED and structural changes or amendments that can be made for RA 7722.

 

Programs Committee: Building a Knowledge Sharing Community for Teaching, Learning, and Leading

 

I would like to congratulate the Programs Committee headed by Ms. Laurice Juarez, chairperson, for the successful hosting of our very first hybrid oath-taking ceremonies and the recent PACU webinar organized in cooperation with the research committee. Through our webinars, PACU can reach out to our member institutions and provide relevant content from expert speakers. At least six webinars are lined up this fiscal year. Our webinars are streamed live on the PACU official Facebook page. Another project of the committee is the PACU Community of Practice, an online learning community designed to support college faculty. It is a platform that allows colleges and universities of the PACU network to exchange ideas and resources. Finally, the committee has established a partnership with the HABI Education Lab, for the learning commons project. It is also exploring other tie-ups with Smart PLDT, Microsoft, and other potential partners.

 

Research Committee: Learning from the Experts and Exploring Education Paradoxes 

 

On February 9, 2021, the PACU’s Research Committee, led by Fr. Manny Manimtim and the Programs Committee organized a webinar series on “Evidence-based Optimized Learning Before, During and After the Pandemic: The Central Visayan Institute Foundation Dynamic Learning Program (VIF-DLP)” with Drs. Christopher and Marivic Bernido as resource speakers. We hope that our members find the insights shared by the resource persons instructive and informative as they navigate the new normal. The Research Committee, likewise, plans to develop papers and to lobby the DepEd and CHED in drafting policies on Flexible Learning Options (FLO). Possible research topics include Empirical Evidence for FL as a way for the Future; Efficacy of FLOs: evaluation tools for the implementation of FLOs; and Survey on how Institutions implement FL: issues related to the implementation of FLOs – access, equity, relevance. The committee will administer an initial survey to gauge the interest and willingness of members to participate in these studies. Also, the committee has set its sites on conducting a virtual Critical Thinking Congress, which was originally scheduled for March 2020 but postponed due to the COVID lockdown. Finally, the committee will explore the feasibility of the Critical Thinking Test developed by Centro Escolar University, which transforms a pen-and-paper test into an online test.

 

Legal and Legislative Committee: Linking up with Executives and Legislators 

 

COCOPEA and PACU were invited to attend several hearings in the Senate and Congress. PACU blocked the shortening of the probationary period of teachers and instead pushed for the amendment of the GASTPE law. We also supported Senate Bill No. 1887 -Teacher Education Council Act; and Senate Resolution No. 10, Creation of Congressional Committee on Education.

 

Atty. Ada Abad, Chairperson of the Legal and Legislative Committee, also shed light on the following: the CHED-DOH guidelines on the reopening of HEIs for optional limited face-to-face classes during the pandemic; Joint Memorandum and guidelines on the provision of cash assistance to displaced personnel; and the intricacies of the CREATE bill. 

 

PACU has also signed a joint statement with COCOPEA on taking a stand against the baseless red-tagging of certain schools. In the said statement, we appealed for circumspection and care in making allegations to shield our educational institutions and our students against any political publicity.

 

Public Relations (PR) Committee: Inoculating Hope in the New Normal in Education

 

The PR Committee, headed by Mr. Marco Benitez, will update the PACU website every month and the PACU FB page every week using feature articles. With the new normal, the committee had also decided to create an electronic version of our newsletter that commenced with a compendium in our September publication.  In addition, PACU has prepared sponsorship packages for the newsletter. The call for articles is now open for our next issue, which will be released in September 2021.

 

Industry Academe Linkage Committee: Building Virtual Bridges of Collaboration

 

The Industry Linkage Committee, headed by Dr. Raymundo Reyes, plans to send out surveys to members about industry issues and concerns. The committee will likewise recommend that the program advisers involve professional organizations in their regular meetings and develop a database of industry partners.  Another idea of the committee is to hold industry-academe webinars to help our industry partners find potential prospects among our graduates.

 

Committee on Institutional Quality Improvement: Leveraging Institutional Strengths and Assuring Quality Education of the Future

 

The Committee on Institutional Quality and Improvement Chairperson Dr. Patricia Lagunda and her members believe that blended learning is here to stay and that we need to equip ourselves by establishing an internal QA system within our schools.  Dr. Vicente Pijano III suggested the idea of building an internal quality assurance system for blended learning and modeling the external QA system outside what is traditional. Dr. Pijano referenced the EU Share program, which conducts capability building on establishing Internal Quality Assurance Systems in schools. PACU intends to pilot this program to member schools.

 

Being One with Our Communities in Natural Disasters and the COVID-19 Pandemic

 

PACU, through its member schools, has also extended assistance to schools affected by calamities such as typhoons particularly in the Bicol Region and Cagayan Valley, through close coordination with the Bicol Foundation for Higher Education, Mariners Polytechnic Colleges Foundation Legazpi City, University of Cagayan Valley and Tuguegarao Collective. PACU has also asked the CHED and the DEPED to include private school teachers as priority recipients of the vaccination program. PACU is also preparing an information campaign to emphasize the importance and clarify misconceptions on COVID-19 vaccination.  We have also begun exploratory talks with possible vaccine distributors such as United Laboratories (UNILAB).

 

Before I end, I would like to thank my colleagues in PACU: the board of trustees, committee members, and the presidents of our member schools. I would like to express my gratitude to the execom: Engr. Bernard Villamor, Mr. Marco Benitez, Dr. Ryan Tirol III for organizing our board meetings, Ms. Laurice Juarez for also properly managing our finances and Atty. Ada Abad for likewise serving as our legal counsel. I would also like to acknowledge Executive Director Joyce Samaniego, Ria Lascano, and AiroI Alfiler for their invaluable loyalty, dedication, and service. I am hoping that everyone will continue our different undertakings so our plans will be carried out to full fruition.  Let us always stay together and remain hopeful for an even better post-pandemic educational environment. 

Finally, let us have faith in the Lord, especially when we face the overwhelming challenges of this pandemic, as Philippians 4:6-7 says “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Inaugural Address

Sir Anthony for COCOPEA Formal Turnover 2021

________________________________________________________________

 

To our distinguished guests – Senator Emmanuel Joel Villanueva, Senator Juan Edgardo Angara, Senator Sherwin T. Gatchalian, Representative Mark O. Go, Representative Roman Romulo , Chairman J. Prospero De Vera III, Secretary Leonor Mirasol Magtolis-Briones, Secretary Isidro Lapena, Director Rhodora Angela Fernandez-Ferrer; to my fellow COCOPEA Board of Trustees and Officers;  to my family and friends watching us live online, a blessed evening to all of you.

 

Let me start by thanking all of you for your virtual presence and enduring support for COCOPEA.  With great joy and hope, I accept the challenge of LEADING this organization. With your trust and support, we will ACHIEVE more and I am very optimistic that we can continue MOVING to a shared and PREFERRED future.  Yes, that is the theme of our event tonight, the acronym is L-A-M-P or Lamp.  A lamp provides light that illuminates the darkness. It was Martin Luther King Jr. who said darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Presently, it had gotten so dark because of this pandemic and the other challenges in the country.  And without a light to guide our way, we won’t be able to see the way forward.

 

In the last 60 years, COCOPEA has been striving to serve as a lamp of the education sector and the unifying voice of private education in the Philippines as a vital element in human development. COCOPEA takes the lead in education public policy development on behalf of the five educational associations under its umbrella. COCOPEA has been a vanguard in promoting, advancing, and safeguarding the interest of the private education sector in the country. And in recent years, COCOPEA has evolved into the voice of quality education from the perspective of the private sector, complementing the government sector under one system of Philippine education. COCOPEA’s role will continue under my term. 

 

To be part of COCOPEA has been an enriching journey for me. I am even more elated for the trust and confidence extended to me by the COCOPEA Board and Trustees and officers. Thank you all for giving me this opportunity to serve COCOPEA as your chair, especially now that the private education sector is facing a myriad of challenges during this unprecedented time.

 

Allow me to profoundly thank our past Chair, Dr. Lourdes Almeda Sese. Thank you for your efforts and hard work Dr. Lulu for paving the way for a stronger COCOPEA organization. Your 3-year roadmap project will serve as our guide for this smooth transition.  We will continue working together for an improved policy environment for private education and equity in government funding and support. Rest assured, the COCOPEA Board of Trustees 2021-2022 shall continue and initiate new thrusts and programs that respond to current challenges and issues brought about by the present crisis.

 

It is in this light, with the support of the COCOPEA Board, we will pursue landmark education policies and initiatives, to:

  1. Address the current learning crisis; 

 

  1. ensure that the law clarifying the preferential tax rate for proprietary educational institutions is passed before the end of this 18th Congress;
  2. promote voter education in the education sector and its stakeholders;
  3. ensure that private education is able to participate in policy preparations for reopening of schools to limited physical classes;
  4. advocate for support to teachers, school personnel, students and educational institutions in the economic stimulus package or Bayanihan 3; and expansion of the GASTPE and SHS Voucher Programs;
  5. and ensure that complementarity in education is preserved in the proposed education reforms such as the Bill reconvening the Congressional Education Commission of the “Edcom 2”; The Bill Strengthening theTeacher Education Council, and other education laws that are set to be passed before the 18th Congress ends.

 

Most of these plans are within reach and with your fervent prayers and support, I am confident that COCOPEA will continue to be an eminent and vital organization that serves to further the noble interests and welfare of private educational institutions. It was Mother Teresa who said that to keep a lamp burning, we have to keep putting oil in it. That is my request to all of you tonight, let us all help each other to keep our lamp burning.

 

Before I end, I would like to acknowledge my PACU family for your encouragement and assistance. I would not be here without my mentors from PACU – who I consider to be some of the best minds in the educational sector.  

 

On behalf of the COCOPEA Board of Trustees and Officers, I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation to our distinguished guests for tonight Senator Emmanuel Joel Villanueva, Senator Juan Edgardo Angara, Senator Sherwin T. Gatchalian, Representative Mark O. Go, Representative Roman Romulo , Chairman J. Prospero De Vera III, Secretary Leonor Mirasol Magtolis-Briones, Secretary Isidro Lapena, and Director Rhodora Angela Fernandez-Ferrer. Again I would like to thank PAPSCU President Dr. Lourdes Almeda-Sese, CEAP President Sr. Marissa Viri, RVM, ACSCU President Judge Benjamin Turgano (Ret.) and TVSA President Fr. Jun Inocencio, SDB.  

 

Also, my special thanks to the persons  who made this event possible despite all the restrictions because of the pandemic, COCOPEA MD Atty. Joseph Estrada, PACU Executive Director, Ms. Joyce Samaniego, Ria Lascano and AiroI Alfiler for your invaluable dedication and service.

 

Of course I will not end without expressing my monumental gratitude to my family; my father Dr. BGen. Antonio Laperal Tamayo, my mother Dr. Daisy Tamayo; my siblings Lt. Col. Richard and his wife Hemilyn, Anton, Tonette, Nena, Tony Boy, Ella and Deston; my nephews Roi and Ocio.  Thank you so much/ for your love, support and understanding

 

Let me share with you a reading from Matthew 5:15-16 No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket. Instead, everyone who lights a lamp puts it on a lamp stand. Then its light shines on everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine in front of people. Then they will see the good that you do and praise your Father in heaven.

 

With the help of God and through the intercession of Mary, our Mother of Perpetual Help, let us continue to serve as a lamp for the Philippine Private education sector as we  face the challenges ahead. 

 

COCOPEA has been in the middle of many of the most significant education reforms and challenges in the past decades. But none of them are bigger than the challenges we face today. With the current learning crisis; the economic crisis hitting our schools, students, and teachers the hardest; the learning losses compounded by continued physical school closure; and the digital divide, -we will not falter. With the help of our emerging education leaders and experts, and our “elders” statesmen and women in education here in COCOPEA, I have no doubt that we will persevere, we will be resilient, and we will be victorious. To all of you, like the lamp that we are, “it’s time to shine”.

 

Thank you and stay safe always.