House panel okays tax perks for proposed national geriatric specialty center

Published August 16, 2021, 12:05 PM

by Hannah Torregoza 

The House Committee on Ways and Means has approved the draft substitute bill seeking to establish the National Center for Geriatric Health and Research Institution (NCGHRI).

During a virtual hearing on Monday, August 16, House ways and means committee chair, Albay Representative Joey Salceda accepted the tax provision of the measure which the House Committee on Health earlier approved.

The substitute bill is a consolidated version of House Bills No. 485, 604, 958, 3949, 7101, 7169, 8739 & 8799, which seeks the establishment of the NCGHRI and regional geriatric specialty centers in all Department of Health (DOH) accredited hospitals.

Under the bill, all donations, endowments, contributions, grants and bequests used actually, directly and exclusively for use of the proposed NCGHRI shall be exempted from donor’s tax.

The NCGHRI shall also be exempt from income tax, and customs duty levied by the government. It shall also avail of the tax expenditure subsidy administered by the fiscal incentives review board (FIRB), subject to the provisions of the National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC).

House Deputy Speaker Benny Abante said passage of the measure is “needed now more than ever to ensure that elderly Filipinos shall receive specialized treatment that is needed to help them survive, not just COVID-19, but a host of other illnesses and diseases.”

Deputy Speaker Rufus Rodriguez also agreed there is a need to upgrade the country’s national geriatric center, which he said is one of the medical centers that has been quite left behind from specialty hospitals.

“(We need it) especially now when our population is already aging. We believe that to strengthen, modernize and get more experts in geriatric care, our geriatric center, and also other subsidiary centers located in different national hospitals and also local hospitals, we will be able to serve our senior citizens,” Rodriguez said.