10% tuition discount thumbed down
Representatives of private schools voiced their plight regarding the 10 percent tuition discount for children of solo parents in the city during a public consultation on June 30.
Under Section 2e of Ordinance 99-2018 entitled “Providing for Local Additional Assistance to Solo Parents and their Children in the City of Baguio,” children of solo parents studying in either public or private schools/universities shall be given a 10 percent discount in school tuition upon enrollment.
Annie Caguioa, president of Association of Private School Administrators (APSA), appealed for the removal of the said provision, claiming private schools in the city cannot afford to grant the said discount due to the significantly high number of solo parents whose children are enrolled in private schools.
“In our school alone, we have 180 solo parents. Our tuition for one school year is P20,000. The accumulated amount to be granted as discounts is almost half million. Our school cannot provide such a big amount,” Caguioa said.
She said private schools are still reeling from the impact of the pandemic and that mandating them to provide the discount will cause further financial strain on the private schools that are already struggling.
In her letter to the city council dated Sept. 18, 2020, Caguioa appealed to the city council to look into the implications of Ordinance 99-2018 on the financial operation of every private school.
She said the association will not object to the provision of the discount if the local government will subsidize it.
Meanwhile, Dona Digna Rosario, directress of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Montessori, said providing the discount is not feasible as private schools also offer various scholarships to qualified students.
Caguioa and Rosario explained private schools are hampered from providing more benefits because of various factors, such as the Covid-19 pandemic, the mandatory salary increase of teachers in conformity with the respective salary scales of every school, and the schools’ decision to not increase tuition fees in the previous years.
Caguioa said most students studying in private schools with separated parents are still financially supported by both parties.
“One of the reasons why those kids are enrolled in the private school is to oblige the other party to support the education of their child. In case the other party cannot afford the tuition fee, they bring their child to a public school,” she said.
The city council, through the office of Councilor Lilia Fariñas, held the public consultation and attended by City Social Welfare and Development Office representatives, barangay officials, APSA members, and other concerned citizens.
As one of the authors, Fariñas said there is a need to revise the ordinance to improve its efficacy and to incorporate the recommendations of the CSWDO.
Other councilors present during the public consultation were councilors Levy Lloyd Orcales and Betty Lourdes Tabanda who are co-authors of the proposed amendatory ordinance.
Under the Solo Parent Ordinance, solo parents shall be given a 10 percent discount on the following (with proposed amendment):
Purchases of baby’s milk, food, and food supplements for purchases made within a period of three years from the child’s birth;
Purchases of medicines, vaccines and other medical supplements/supplies for the child for purchases made within a period of 17 years from the child’s birth, and purchase of medicines for the exclusive use and enjoyment of the solo parents themselves and/or his/her child/children as long as the prescription contains the name of the solo parent and/or his/her child/children;
Hospital bill of the solo parent if he/she himself/herself is admitted, and/or when his/her child is admitted to a public or private hospital in the City of Baguio within a period of 17 years from the child’s birth;
Consultation and laboratory diagnostic fees. any procedure conducted for diagnostic purposes. It shall include procedures such as X-rays, CT scans, MRI scans, PET scans, blood chemistry exams, histopathology and immunopathology, hematology, urine analysis, parasitology and bacteriology tests, serology, blood banking and all other diagnostic radiology, clinical laboratory and other diagnostic examinations that are necessary for the diagnosis of the solo parents and/or their child/children made within a period of 17 years from the child’s birth;
Purchases of school supplies for the child for purchases made within a period of 17 years from the child’s birth, except books, uniforms and other school requirements;
Tuition per child studying in elementary, junior high school, senior high school, or college in either public or private schools/universities. Children of solo parents shall be given 10 percent discount in school tuition fees upon enrollment; and
The total bill of the solo parent dining together with his/her registered number of children shall be granted by restaurant establishments to solo parents equipped with a valid solo parent ID issued by the City Social Welfare and Development Office every first Sunday of each month, but in no case shall the provision apply to bills exceeding P1,000 for single or accumulated receipts made within the same establishment within the same day. – Jordan G. Habbiling