The House of Representatives approved on Monday the final reading of a bill that seeks to impose sanctions on private elementary and secondary schools that will prevent students from taking periodic exams due to unpaid financial obligations with a resounding 259 votes.

Once enacted into law, House Bill No. 7584, or the “No Permit, No Exam Prohibition Act,” will allow learners in private basic educational institutions to take scheduled periodic examinations despite unpaid school fees, provided that the reason for the unsettled financial obligations is from emergencies, force majeure (uncontrollable events), and good cause or other justifiable reasons.

To balance student welfare with the needs of the private schools, the proposed measure requires the parents or guardians of learners to execute a promissory note for the settlement schedule prior to the taking of the examination.

The bill further provides that the deferment of payment should also not go beyond the school year, except when allowed by the private basic education institutions.

Likewise, school authorities shall have the right to withhold the issuance of appropriate clearance and transfer credentials of elementary and secondary learners with unpaid financial obligations, and refuse their enrollment in the next enrollment period until all previous delinquencies are paid.

Private basic education institutions found guilty of violating any provision of this Act shall be subject to administrative sanctions by the Department of Education (DepEd) pursuant to its powers under Batas Pambansa 232 (Education Act of 1982) and Republic Act 9155 (Governance of Basic Education Act of 2001).

Parents, guardians, or learners found guilty of committing any act of fraud, falsehood, or misrepresentation in availing themselves of the benefits of this act, shall be subject to administrative and disciplinary sanctions of the private schools. (PNA)