LEYTE Representative Yedda Marie Kittilstvedt-Romualdez yesterday welcomed the approval on second reading of the “malasakit” (compassionate) Alternative Learning System Act that will boost accessibility to education of underserved sectors such as out-of-school youth and persons with disabilities (PWDs).
Romualdez, author of House Bill (HB) No. 3706 or one of the consolidated bills, said this is good news for every Filipino who has either none or limited access to formal education and who lives in far-flung communities.
“This is to provide a viable leaning alternative to the formal education system that will address all learning needs of marginalized learners,” said Romualdez, a registered nurse and a vice chairperson of the House Committee on Government Enterprises and Privatization, following the approval of the consolidated measure under HB No. 7392.
“The bill will help institutionalize an alternative learning system for indigent adults, out-of-school youth, indigenous people, persons with disabilities and special needs and senior citizens,” she added.
She said the measure intends to institute a mobile teacher program especially in far-flung, unserved, underserved, and conflict-affected communities.
Romualdez recalled the compassionate Republic Act (RA) No. 10754 or An Act Expanding the Benefits and Privileges of Persons with Disability that exempts PWDs from 12-percent value added tax (VAT) payment that her husband Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa) president Martin Romualdez principally authored.
Martin’s “malasakit” or compassionate law will exempt more than 1.5 million PWDs from the payment of VAT on certain goods and services.
The law that stemmed from Martin’s HB (HB) No. 1039 which amends RA No. 7277 or the “Magna Carta for Persons with Disability,” exempts PWDs from the 12-percent VAT, as amended by RA No. 9442, which gave the PWDs the 20-percent discount.
“This is an equalizing measure because this will accord PWDs exactly the same privilege enjoyed by senior citizens who are exempted from the VAT,” Martin explained.
Other authors of the substitute bill are HB No. 2733 filed by Pampanga Rep. Aurelio Gonzales; HB 3292 by AKBAYAN Party-list Rep. Tom Villarin; HB 4029 by 1-ANG EDUKASYON Party-list Rep. Salvador Belaro Jr.; HB 4307 by Quezon City Rep. Florida Robes; HB 3333 by AN WARAY Party-list Rep. Victoria Isabel Noel; HB 4386 by BH Party-list Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy; and HB 6039 by Camarines Sur Rep. LRay Villafuerte Jr.