“They are asking too much, far more than they could chew,” Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, chairman of the House committee on ways and means, stressed as he reminded PCSO general manager Royina Garma their mandate is to fund the Universal Health Care.
Edd Gumban/File
Joey Salceda rebuffs PCSO, bucks request for tax exemption
Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) - August 26, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — While the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) is a revenue-generating agency, a key leader of the House of Representatives maintained that it does not need to be “exempt” from taxes imposed by the national government.

“They are asking too much, far more than they could chew,” Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, chairman of the House committee on ways and means, stressed as he reminded PCSO general manager Royina Garma their mandate is to fund the Universal Health Care. 

At the House hearing on the agency’s revenue collection last Friday, Garma asked Congress to exempt its revenue collection from taxes so it can be used for the implementation of the Universal Health Care (UHC) program, which needs P166.5 billion for next year.

Salceda said PCSO should do away with the desire to perform roles of the Department of Health (DOH), Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) and local government units (LGUs).

“They want to do the role of DOH, PhilHealth and LGUs. Like DSWD, pang support lang sila sa kulang ng indigents. Eh baka mawindang sila pag kinalkal ang patient profiles dahil mas marami ang non-indigents,” he warned. 

“Their current role is to provide the out-of-pocket that can’t be funded by PhilHealth, LGUs and DOH,” Saleceda explained. 

The lawmaker also reminded PCSO of its charter which states that they should undertake “individual medical assistance” and not in health delivery primarily assigned by law to PhilHealth, DOH and LGUs.

“Eh di sana kasama sila as UHC (Universal Health Care) implementor?” Salceda maintained. 

House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez and House Deputy Speaker Raneo Abu, meanwhile, vowed to marshal the votes needed for the approval of the P4.1-trillion national budget for 2020 before Congress goes on a break on Oct. 4. 

“We, in Congress, support the initiatives of the Duterte administration to empower the poor through increased subsidies and grants aimed at ending the intergenerational cycle of poverty in the country,” Romualdez said.

“The House leaders agreed to extend their full support to the 2020 budget allocated for poor Filipinos, particularly the P108.8 billion allocated for the 4Ps program and the P166.5 billion for Universal Health Care,” he added.

Abu also underscored the importance of expediting the passage of the national budget to help President Duterte’s target to reduce poverty incidence in the country to 14 percent by 2022. 

“We will not allow any delay because it will derail poverty reduction efforts. House leaders under Speaker (Alan) Cayetano will ensure that the government will be able to accelerate the implementation of its infrastructure projects by providing the necessary funding,” he said.

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES JOEY SALCEDA PHILIPPINE CHARITY SWEEPSTAKES OFFICE
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