By Ben Rosario
Anti-poverty advocate Deputy Speaker and 1 Pacman Partylist Rep. Michael Romero has sought the grant of tax incentives to medical practitioners who render free medical services to indigent patients, saying their efforts to help the poor should not go unrewarded.
Romero filed House Bill 984 proposing to grant medical doctors tax cuts for using their medical expertise in helping the poor.
“While the state remains struggling to provide free health care to its people, legislation should be geared towards ways to bring free or affordable health care to indigent patients,” he explained.
HB 984 provides that doctors who render free professional services to indigent patients should be entitled a deduction from the computation of taxable income that is equivalent to ten percent of the intended fees of the services rendered.
The bill provides, however, that deductions should not exceed ten percent of the doctor’s taxable income for the covered year.
Tasked to promulgate the necessary rules and regulations in pursuing the provisions of the measure are the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Department of Health.
Romero said the 1987 Constitution makes it the responsibility of the state to protect and promote the right to health of Filipinos.
The government is also mandated to instill health consciousness among the people.
He also pointed out that the World Health Organization maintains that the enjoyment of the “highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being.”
“However, access to health care has become an issue of capacity to pay,” stated Romero, president of the Partylist Coalition Foundation Inc.
The senior administration lawmaker said many Filipinos, and even foreign doctors, have been extending medical health services to the poor as part of their own advocacies.
“I believe there are more among our doctors who are similarly concerned about their fellow Filipinos who are denied professional medical help due to poverty,” he said.
“This proposal will serve as a token of appreciation to medical practitioners who render public service to the underprivileged and needy patients,” the House official stated.
He aired the strong belief that the incentives will also encourage other doctors to “heal their impoverished kababayans.”