Cinema asks for tax rebate, discount on free tickets of seniors, PWDs

By: Delta Dyrecka Letigio January 14,2020 - 07:44 PM

CEBU CITY, Philippines — A cinema is asking the Cebu City Council for tax rebates if a proposed ordinance should be passed allowing senior citizens and persons with disabilities (PWD) who are residents of the city free movie screenings in the city’s movie houses.

The ordinance was proposed by Councilor Alvin Dizon aiming to amend existing City Ordinance 2466, which allows senior citizens free access to movies. The amendment would now include PWDs.

The current ordinance allows senior citizens registered in the city to watch movies at movie houses for free during weekdays except on the first day of showing, on holidays, and on weekends.

If the new ordinance will be passed, the movie houses and cinemas will have to allow free viewing to PWDs on Mondays and Tuesdays on the first screening hour.

During the public hearing for the proposed ordinance on Tuesday, January 14, 2020, the Regional Operations Officer of SM City Cebu, Mary Christine Lucero, appeared before the council to express their hopes for tax rebates or discounts as compensation for the free tickets distributed.

Lucero said that even though the senior citizens do not pay for the tickets, the cinema still pays a 10 percent amusement tax on every ticket sold.

She said they are hoping that the city can give a tax discount for the amusement tax to the cinemas for these tickets.

“In Bacolod City (Negros Occidental), the LGU (local government unit) lowered the 10 percent amusement tax to 5 percent for all cinemas that give free tickets to senior citizens,” said Lucero addressing the council members.

She said the City Council can also opt for tax rebates, which is being done by the City of Bacoor in Cavite, wherein the city will shoulder a portion of the ticket, lowering the amusement tax for each free ticket distributed.

Councilor Alvin Garcia, the chairperson of the Committee on Finance, said the concern of the cinema must be seriously considered because the city and the business sector should be able to compromise to provide services to the public.

Councilor Franklyn Ong urged the cinemas to provide data on the number of senior citizens currently availing the free movie pass so the Council can help formulate the appropriate compensations for the cinemas.

“Together with my colleagues in the city council, I will study the proposal of the movie house or cinema operators if this will not affect the city government’s cash position and revenue targets,” said Dizon.

Dizon pointed out that cinema operators need not worry because the privilege is limited as only PWDs and senior citizens can watch for free and only on specific days or at certain hours.

Under our proposed measure, every PWD and senior citizen shall be allowed to avail of the free movie access during Mondays and Tuesdays on the first screening hour.

” I believe that this proposed measure will enhance the theater’s income because the accompanying persons of the PWDs and senior citizens will pay for their movie tickets. Moviehouse or cinema operators should go the extra mile to share some privileges and benefits to the less fortunate members of our society in line with their corporate social responsibility,” said Dizon.  /rcg

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