Angara asks Digong to show compassion to seniors, PWDs

Inquirer.net October 26,2016 - 12:35 PM
ANGARA

ANGARA

Senator Sony Angara appealed for compassion on Tuesday over the government’s plan to lift the value-added tax (Vat) exemptions on senior citizens and persons with disabilities (PWDs).

Finance undersecretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua said that by removing the exemptions, the government can generate P3 billion to P6 billion from seniors and around P1 billion from the PWDs.

Chua said the leakage from Vat exemption for the elderly was about P6 billion to P10 billon as senior citizens cards were also reportedly being used by non-card holders.

“Unlike other government IDs, these are not well-protected IDs. They can be printed by anyone,” he said.

If that’s the only problem, then Senate Minority Leader Ralph Recto proposed to just amend the law.

But Chua said another reason why the government is planning to forgo the “non-essentials” for seniors is that most of the perks were being enjoyed by the rich senior citizens. He earlier said that the government would retain the exemption on seniors’ medicines.

Based on the census, Chua said, there are 7.5 million elderly in the country and 10 percent or 750,000 of them are considered rich.

The number of PWDs, on the other hand, was 700,000, and the government expects to generate roughly about P1 billion if the tax exemption, which has yet to be imposed, would be lifted.

But Angara said lifting the Vat exemptions on the two sectors would be a “very emotional,” and “highly charged” issue.

While he recognized that the expected income from the two sectors were small, Chua said the government is “fighting more on the principle of equity.”

“But there’s also the principle of compassion, USec,” Angara said, “I think one of the reasons why the President came into power is because other candidates were perceived as less compassionate than the President and the President was one of the few who early on came out with a promise of tax reforms.”

“But he never campaigned to say that I’ll take away the benefits enjoyed by seniors, I’ll take away the benefits enjoy by the PWDs. He said I’m gonna help working people have more money in their pockets. That’s my recollection,” the senator added.

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TAGS: Karl Kendrick T. Chua, persons with disabilities, PWD, PWDs, senior citizens, seniors, Sonny Angara, tax, value-added tax

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