A HOUSE committee approved Monday a bill creating state senior high schools specializing in industrial trades, which its proponent said could generate tax incentives for companies that agree to invest in or donate to such institutions.

The House Committee on Ways and Means approved the unnumbered substitute bill creating so-called “Meister schools” which create an apprenticeship track to employment. They are patterned after trade schools set up in Germany and South Korea.

The bill was written by the committee chairman, Representative Jose Ma. Clemente S. Salceda, who said companies will be eligible for tax breaks under the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act (CREATE), which is awaiting the President’s signature.

“The registered enterprises can enter into agreements with Meister Schools so they can qualify for the incentive. Meister schools are state schools, so (the Bureau of Internal Revenue’s) verification is much easier,” Mr. Salceda said.

Mr. Salceda said enterprises will be granted “an additional deduction from taxable income of one-half of the value of labor training expenses incurred for skills development of enterprise-based trainees enrolled in public senior high schools, public higher education institutions, or public technical and vocational institutions and duly covered by an apprenticeship agreement under Presidential Decree No. 442, series of 1974, or the Labor Code of the Philippines.”

The bill also aims to strengthen links between the public and private sectors in providing industry-based experience and education, boosting the employability of students in Meister Schools.

The bill will allocate at least P100 million for each Meister School to fund its establishment, maintenance, and operation.

Last month, the measure was approved by the House Committee on Basic Education and Culture. — Gillian M. Cortez