Deputy Speaker and 1Pacman Partylist Rep. Michael “Mikee” Romero called on government to grant Tokyo Olympics gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz tax free privilege for the more than P50 million in cash and incentives she is expected to receive for her rare feat.
This developed as officials of the Bureau of Internal Revenue appeared to be divided on whether or not the law is clear about the grant of tax exemption for Diaz.
In a virtual news forum on Wednesday, July 28, Romero said he is studying the filing of a resolution exempting from any form of tax the gifts and prizes Diaz stood to receive as soon as she clears her mandatory quarantine upon arrival in the country..
“She is our national hero. Sporting heroes in the country only come after 100 years, she deserves this well-deserved privilege,” Romero said.
The House official is among the sports patrons and business leaders who readily offered cash and material incentives to Diaz for winning an Olympic gold medal for the Philippines some 97 years after a Filipino athlete first copped a medal.
Romero showed the Lower House media a P3 million check made out for Diaz.
He said income and donor’s taxes can be waived by government to dramatize the gratefulness of Filipinos for the hardwork and honor Diaz gave the country.
Romero explained that lifting the donor’s tax requirement will help sports development in the country because more business leaders will be inspired to help finance the requirements of producing a “super athlete.” “Nagbibigay ka na ng reward or incentive tapos mata-tax ka pa (You are being taxed despite giving reward or incentive) It’s like you are being penalized for giving something or for your generosity.” noted Romero.
Revenue Deputy Commissioner for Legal Group Marissa Cabreros said Diaz will not pay a single centavo in taxes for the prizes she was given, pointing out that this is assured in the Tax Code.
However, there remains a debate among legal experts if gifts given in cash or in kind, which are not considered prizes, are also tax free.
As of Tuesday, Diaz was assured of P10 million cash from the government as provided under Republic Act 10699 or the National Athletes and Coaches Benefits Act.
Aside from the P3 million cash from Romero, Air Asia, which is partly owned by the solon’s family, has given Diaz free flights during her lifetime.
The country’s top businessmen, Ramon S. Ang of San Miguel Corporation and Manny Pangilinan of Smart Telecoms have pledged P10 million each in cash incentives.
The Phoenix Petroleum revealed that a P5 million cash gift awaits Diaz.
Added to these are the condominium unit from Dr. Andrew Tan of Megaworld and house and lot promised by PHirst Park Homes Inc for the 30-year-old Zamboanga City lass. The housing showcases are estimated to cost at least P18 million in total.
Philippine Olympic Committee president and Tagaytay City Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino has also revealed that another house and lot located in his city will be turned over Hidilyn.