Filipino bishops have come out against the Duterte administration, which announced on Monday plans to tax religious schools.
House of Representatives Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, who once
described the bishops as “a bunch of hypocrites”, said
church-owned schools should be taxed to improve the government’s revenue
At the hearing on the Duterte administration’s tax reform bill, he
called for a revisit of the government’s income tax policy, claiming
that some schools cater to students from higher-income families and hike
Swiftly responding to Alvarez’s claims, Bishop Pablo David of
Kalookan said that the Church would probably not be running schools if
the government “adequately” provided quality education, especially at
the primary and secondary levels.
“The fact is, it cannot,” David said. “We always thought that we in
the Church were doing the government a favour by making quality
education available wherever the state is unable to do it adequately.”
This failure, the prelate noted, is visible in cramped public schools
as well as in the huge backlog in classroom construction and in teacher
In his view, government resources are still not enough to provide a decent education to the population.
“We do not even rely on public funds to run our schools,” the prelate
explained. “Should they not treat us as their partners and allies
rather than as adversaries?” he asked.
For many political analysts, the tax plan represents an act of retaliation by the authorities against the bishops.
For months, the Church has lent its critical voice against Duterte’s
war on drug and extra-judicial killings and has been fierce opponent to
the reintroduction of the death penalty.