Lawmaker cites P7.3-B donations under 'Adopt-a-School' Program

March 15, 2010 11:37 pm 

MANILA, March 15 — A lawmaker has called the "Adopt-a-School" Program "a huge success," citing the mobilization of some P7.3 billion in donations and pledges from the private sector in 2009 alone.

Cebu Rep. Eduardo Gullas credited the Department of Education (DepEd) for aggressively promoting the program as a means to help address the public school system's severe resource shortages.

He also credited last year's single biggest donor, Knowledge Channel (KCh), which contributed educational television (ETV) infrastructure and facilities to public schools.

KCh began in 1999 as the flagship project of the Knowledge Channel Foundation. It is the first and only all-educational channel on cable TV, broadcasting a wide range of curriculum-based programs for elementary and high school students and instructional shows for adults 18 hours a day, seven days a week.

KCh has emerged as a leading source of ETV programs in the country, providing highly relevant and responsive instructional support to over 2.8 million students in over 1,000 schools.

Gullas is principal author of Republic Act 8525, which established the Adopt-a-School Program.

The program spurs private entities to adopt and aid public schools in all levels in exchange for tax gains.

Under the program, contributing firms or individuals may deduct from their gross taxable income the amount equal to 150 percent of their assistance.

Qualified aid may be in the form of support for faculty training and development, the construction and upgrading of school facilities, the provision of textbooks and other teaching materials, and the modernization of instructional technologies.

Corporations that extend financial assistance to "adopted" public schools are entitled to claim a gross income deduction equal to 150 percent of the contribution.

Should a corporation for instance spend P300,000 to build a new classroom, the firm may claim a P450,000 deduction from gross income.

For the purpose of claiming deductions, the valuation of the aid other than cash would be based on the acquisition cost or purchase price of the property, equipment, materials and services supplied. However, used properties that are contributed would be subject to depreciation.

"This is huge tax benefit that Congress conceded precisely to allow private entities to get more value for their money, while heartily supporting our public schools," the Cebu solon said.

Gullas urged business to devote more social development funds to energizing the Adopt-a-School Program, stressing the need for the private sector to combine forces with the government in addressing the public school system’s resource gaps. (PNA)

RMA/LGI

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