Waste-to-energy facility highly impossible for the Philippines – Experts

Marje Pelayo   •   July 3, 2018   •   12381

An MMDA personnel during a clean-up drive at Estero de Magdalena in Manila collects garbage that clogs the city’s waterways. 

 

PASAY CITY, Philippines – The National Solid Waste Management Commission in 2016 recorded an average daily collection of over 40,000 tons of waste materials in the country.

To date, the volume of garbage being collected every day is continuously increasing with the National Capital Region as the largest source of domestic wastes.

Debates on how the Philippines can achieve zero-waste status are ongoing as well as whether or not the government would put up a waste-to-energy facility in the country.

This is in consideration of environmental advocates and experts’ claim that facilities like incinerators and waste-to-energy plants both produce toxic fumes that are harmful to human health and would definitely damage the environment.

 “Incinerators and the newer versions of waste to energy plants all produce the most poisonous and toxic substances,” said Dr. Jorge Emmanuel, an energy technology specialist from Siliman University.

 

Environmental advocates

 

Also, the Clean Air Act clearly prohibits the use of incinerators.

Senate Committee on Energy Chair Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said his Committee has been pushing for a number of proposals regarding waste disposal in the country.

The Senator, however, admitted that a large-scale facility for waste to energy conversion is highly impossible for the Philippines, noting that the process would require amendment of the existing laws aside from the high cost of the facility’s installation and overall operation.

“Ang waste to energy will be impossible to implement here in the Philippines primary because of economics,” he concluded. – Nel Maribojoc / Marje Pelayo

 

Gatchalian seeks better learner performance in math, science to boost innovation

Robie de Guzman   •   July 20, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Tuesday pushed for the need to improve K to 12 learners’ proficiency in both math and science to foster innovation in the new normal and help in the Philippines’ post-pandemic recovery.

In a statement, Gatchalian said it is crucial to equip learners with strong foundational skills that will boost innovation, which, he said, is important in promoting economic recovery and building resilience, including preparedness for future health threats like the coronavirus pandemic.

He cited the results of the 2019 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), which showed that among Grade 4 learners who were assessed, only 19 percent had some basic mathematical knowledge, while 13 percent showed limited understanding and knowledge of scientific concepts and foundational science facts.

Another study, the 2019 Southeast Asia Primary Learning Metrics (SEA-PLM), also showed that among Grade 5 learners, only 17 percent developed the proficiency in mathematics to transition to secondary education.

Gatchalian also said that the Philippines ranked second lowest in both math and science in the 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA).

While the Department of Education (DepEd) is currently streamlining the K to 12 curriculum, Gatchalian noted that there is also a need to improve the quality of teachers and address issues hounding the “spiral progression approach” mandated in the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013 (Republic Act No. 10533).

The senator said that the spiral progression approach or the spiral curriculum “exposes learners into a variety of topics and concepts which makes the curriculum crowded.”

“For some, this concept is not conducive to teaching in depth or not helping students master the basic subjects,” said Gatchalian, who chairs the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture.

With this, Gatchalian again pushed for the passage of his Senate Bill No. 2152 or the Teacher Education Excellence Act, which seeks to improve the quality of teacher education and training in the country.

The proposed measure also aims to revamp the Teacher Education Council (TEC), and improve the coordination among the Department of Education, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC).

“This will ensure the link and coherence between pre-service education and in-service education, and improve teacher education outcomes,” he said.

Gatchalian seeks accountability for vulgar learning module

Robie de Guzman   •   June 17, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Sherwin Gatchalian wants those involved in the creation and clearance of a self-learning module that includes an obscene word to be held accountable.

Gatchalian, who chairs the Senate committee on basic education, arts, and culture, was referring to a now recalled module that was recently flagged for containing a vulgar description of a mythical creature “aswang” which means sexual intercourse when translated to the English language.

The senator said that since the meaning of the word is clear and obviously not appropriate for young learners, he suspects that the inclusion of the word in the material was “intentional.”

What’s worse for Gatchalian, however, is how these materials still get through DepEd’s quality assurance process.

“Obviously the system failed. And we also need to investigate this matter and hold the quality assurance mechanism or those people who are implementing the quality assurance to account. But more importantly, look for that person who wrote that,” Gatchalian said in a statement.

DepEd Undersecretary Diosdado San Antonio earlier said that the module was recalled last February and already rectified by the division office concerned. Based on the DepEd data, the module was used by Grade 10 students in Pampanga for the second quarter.

According to DepEd, 155 errors were found in learning materials from October 2020 to June 2021, of which 104 were from locally developed materials, 25 were reviewed by DepEd’s Central Office, 19 were from unknown sources, five from DepEd TV, one from a privately-developed material, and one from a DepEd textbook.

Gatchalian said he will look into DepEd’s quality assurance process in the upcoming Senate inquiry on the preparations for School Year 2021-2022.

Senate Resolution No. 739, which Gatchalian filed, aims to assess the capacity of basic education institutions to deliver quality education for next school year, whether through face-to-face classes or distance learning.

BIR urged to suspend imposition of tax hike on private schools

Robie de Guzman   •   June 9, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Wednesday called on the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to suspend the imposition of a 25 percent corporate income tax on private schools, warning that the added burden on struggling institutions amid the coronavirus pandemic could lead to more school closures, job losses, and a more restricted access to education.

In a statement, Gatchalian said BIR’s Revenue Regulation (RR) 5-2021 runs counter to the intention of the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act or the CREATE Act (Republic Act No. 11534) which seeks to impose a one percent tax rate on proprietary educational institutions for a three-year period.

The law also provides that these institutions have to pay ten percent tax on their taxable income, he added.

Under the CREATE Law, ‘proprietary’ means a private hospital or private school maintained and administered by private individuals or groups. These institutions should have an issued permit to operate from the Department of Education (DepEd), the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

But based on RR 5-2021, proprietary educational institutions have to be non-profit to avail of the reduced tax rate.

“If these rules are imposed, private schools’ income tax rate would increase by 150 percent,” said Gatchalian, who chairs the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture.

In an earlier statement, Gatchalian called the tax rule “ill-timed” considering how private schools are trying to stay afloat.

The senator cited the March 2021 Labor Force Survey, which showed that the education sub-industry had the largest decrease in the number of employed persons from February to March 2021 at 248,000.

He noted that last February, DepEd reported that 929 private schools did not operate for the school year (SY) 2020-2021. The Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations (COCOPEA) also said in a statement that enrollment in private K-12 schools dropped by over 900,000 compared to the previous school year.

“Sa panahong karamihan sa ating mga private schools ay nahihirapang magpatuloy ng operasyon sa gitna ng pandemya, hindi napapanahon at hindi tamang patawan natin sila ng karagdagang buwis bilang dagdag pasanin,” Gatchalian said.

The senator likewise said that he is mulling to file a resolution that would urge the BIR to suspend the imposition of the tax hike on private schools.

 

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