Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque asked Congress to pass a law that would exempt Olympic Gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz’s cash rewards from tax, saying no Filipino wanted to deduct from her much-deserved prizes.
Roque made the statement after the Senate expressed its intention to talk to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to exempt Diaz from tax following her historic win at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics this week.
In his press briefing on Thursday, July 29, Roque said all Filipinos wanted Diaz to keep the entire prize that she earned after winning the country’s first Olympic Gold.
“Walang Pilipino na gustong buwisan ang mga pabuya na matatanggap ni Hidilyn. Pero alam ko rin po bilang abogado, para magkaroon ng tax exemption, kinakailangan po ng batas (No Filipino wanted to tax the cash incentives that Hidilyn received. But as a lawyer, I know that a law is needed to allow tax exemption),” he said.
“So baka kinakailangan ng mga senador at mga kongresista ang gumawa ng ganyang batas (So perhaps the senators and the congressmen should pass such law),” he added.
Diaz has raked in at least P40 million in cash incentives from both the public and private sectors. On Wednesday evening, President Duterte pledged to give her another P3 million, bringing her total cash earnings to P43.5 million as of July 28.
The President also pledged to give her a fully furnished housing unit in her hometown of Zamboanga City.
BIR Deputy Commissioner for Legal Group Marissa Cabreros said prizes bestowed to winners in the Olympic games and other amateur competitions are tax-exempt under the Tax Code.
However, prizes coming from the private sector will be subject to a six percent donor’s tax which will come from the donor and not from the recipient.
Aside from cash prizes, Diaz also received houses and a condominium unit, vehicles, and free lifetime gas services and flights from two carriers.