House panel approves bill exempting elderly, PWDs from travel tax

By Charissa Luci-Atienza

The House Committee on Tourism has approved a bill seeking to exempt senior citizens and persons with disabilities (PWDs) from travel tax.

The panel, chaired by Davao Oriental Rep. Corazon Nuñez-Malanyaon, passed House Bill 7964 or the proposed “Tax-Free Travel for Senior Citizens and PWDs Act,” principally authored by Bacolod City Rep. Greg Gasataya.

A Persons with disability (PWD) eats his breakfast before the start of the the celebration of the 35th NAtional Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation (NPDR) Week yesterday, July 17, 2013. THe event, which will last from July 17 to July 23, was declared through Proclamation No. 361 and Administrative Order 35 which urge all government and non-government organization to promote and conduct relevant acitivites for persons with disabilities during the week long celebration. (Mark Balmores)

“Those who have less in life should have more in law. While there are existing benefits for Senior Citizens and PWDs provided by law, the State can further develop policies that would induce a more satisfactory life for them,” Gasataya said.

He said the measure seeks to help improve the lives of the elderly and PWDS, who usually seek special medical intervention that may be better acquired in other countries.

“Despite our country’s significant advances in the field of Medical Technology, it cannot be denied that there are still procedures for certain illnesses that are exclusive or are more affordable in countries abroad. Thus, overseas travel must be made accessible to Senior Citizens and PWDs,” he said.

HB 7964, if enacted into law, would help reduce the burden of travelling on senior citizens and PWDs by exempting them from travel tax.

As provided for under by Presidential Decree 1183, the travel tax in the country for economy class currently amounts to the following: P1,620 for the full travel tax, P810 for the Standard Reduced Travel Tax, and P300 for the Privileged Reduced Tax for OFW dependents.

While, the travel tax for first class passengers are as follows: P2,700 for the full rate amount; P1,350 for the Standard Reduced Rate, and P400 for the Privileged Reduced Tax for OFW dependents.

“As many senior citizens rely solely on pension and PWDs on their families for income, it is imperative that the State provide them with as much privileges as possible,” Gasataya said.