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DOH proposes VAT exemption on cancer medications

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Wednesday, January 16th, 2019

(file photo)

MANILA, Philippines – Since the beginning of this year, medications for hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol have been exempted from the 12 percent value added tax (TAX).

Such a measure is part of the provisions of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law and consumers somehow appreciate the benefits of the tax exemption.

Sixty-two (62) year-old Rodolfo Almariego had undergone a major heart surgery in 2016.

Every week, he spends around P1,000 for his maintenance medicine and that VAT exemption greatly eased his financial burden.

“Kahit papaano, malaking bagay iyon. Mababawasan ang kailangan kong ibayad sa gamot. Medyo mahal din ang iniinom kong gamot,” Almariego said.

He finances his medications with the salary he earns working as a building caretaker.

Aside from medications for hypertension, the Department of Health (DOH) also plans to propose VAT exemption on cancer medications as requested by many patients and non-government agencies.

“Ang strong clamor natin ngayon which we are discussing with our inter-agency working group, iyong gamot para sa cancer,” said Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo.

“We have very strong patient groups and mga NGOs (Non-government Organizations) na talagang working with us and tinitignan natin kung paano maisasama itong cancer medicines,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) warns pharmacies and retailers of facing charges and imprisonment if they refuse to implement the VAT exemption for hypertension, diabetes and high-cholesterol medications.

“Non-compliance with a Tax Law provision. So if found guilty, na hindi tama ang invoice nila, maaari po silang mapatawan ng penalty and may imprisonment po yan na kaakibat na minimum of six months,” warned BIR Deputy Commissioner Marissa Cabreros. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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DOH warns pharmacies not giving VAT exemption on diabetes, hypertension drugs

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Wednesday, January 2nd, 2019


MANILA, Philippines – Under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law, prescription medicines for diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol will be free of the 12% valued added tax.

This means that pharmacies who will not give discounts to patients of the said conditions will violate the law and definitely face appropriate charges.

“Ang panawagan natin sundin natin ang batas para sa ganoon hindi tayo magkaroon ng problema. Otherwise baka kayo makasuhan,” reminded Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.

Meanwhile, Finance Assistant Secretary Tony Lambino clarified that discounts for the said specific medicines will not be limited to senior citizens and persons with disability (PWD) only but to all patients in need of the said medicines.

Prior to this year, senior citizens and PWDs have been enjoying the VAT exemption in addition to the 20% discount they get when buying the said medicines.

Lambino said the VAT exemption was expanded this year to cover patients below 60 years old.

“Ito po ngayon ang bago nating exemption ay para naman po sa lahat dahil noon po seniors at saka mga PWDs lang po ang VAT exempt,” Lambino explained.

Because of the measure, the government will lose P3.6 billion in tax collection, according to Lambino.

Meanwhile, the Department of Finance (DOF) is pushing for the Package 2 Plus of the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program to address the financial gap following the implementation of the Universal Health Care Law.

“Ang financing gap ay around P40 billion at gusto nating kunin iyan sa alcohol at saka tobacco,” Lambino said.

The DOF reminds patients to secure an authorized prescription when purchasing the above mentioned medicines to avail for the discounted price. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

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Senate approves 12% VAT exemption on house rent of P15,000 below

by admin   |   Posted on Tuesday, November 28th, 2017

MANILA, Philippines — The Senate makes its final push towards the passage of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion or TRAIN Bill.

It particularly deliberates on which sector will be included or removed from the list of those to benefit from 12% Value-Added Tax (VAT) exemptions.

One provision that the senators agreed upon was to increase the number of VAT exemptions to house and apartment rent of 15,000 pesos and below monthly.

“Sabihin mong P10,000, may balik sa kaniya na P1,200 na hindi bubuwisan ng gobyerno so mamakatulong ito sa mga bedspacers, dun sa mga nagtatrabaho, umuupa, galing probinsya,” said Senate Committee on Ways & Means chairperson Sen. Sonny Angara.

It is expected to help millions of families who are renting once the bill passes into law.

Meanwhile, exemptions of VAT to special economic zones did not win the favor of the senators.

Also, some senators are pushing for 12 percent VAT exemptions to medicines.

“Kung inexempt natin ang medicine sa VAT, hahanap naman ho naman tayo ng pambawi bago tayo matapos,” said Sen. Francis Escudero.

“I supposed our position that we exempt agriculture products from its original products in its state, exempt education, including books, why not exempt sale of drugs and medicine,” said Sen. Ralph Recto.

This week, the Senate targets to complete its deliberations and hopefully pass their version of the TRAIN Bill. — Roderic Mendoza | UNTV News & Rescue

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Poe proposes 20% VAT discount for poor youth

by admin   |   Posted on Monday, February 6th, 2017

FILE PHOTO: Senator Grace Poe

Aside from senior citizens, the indigent youth can now be given a chance to enjoy the 20% discount on the value added tax.

That is if Congress passes a measure that seeks to provide benefits to junior citizens.

Sen. Grace Poe, the principal author of this bill, said the State should prioritize giving affordable services to the sick, elderly, disabled, women and children.

If passed, children up to age 12 will be given discounts on medicine, vaccine, medical, dental and burial services, as well as on admission fees in theaters and cinemas.

To make sure that deserving beneficiaries will be chosen, only children belonging to families earning less than 250 thousand pesos a year will be covered.

However, tax expert Atty. Rosario Abelardo said this will decrease the collection of revenues.

“Ang worry ko lang is, I think ang government natin is really looking for sources of revenue, so kung dadagdagan pa natin yung exemptions sa VAT parang hindi siya good move at least at this time. Maybe some other time kapag marami na ang revenue ng government,” he said.

(My worry is, I think the government is really looking for sources of revenue, so if we are going to add more VAT exemptions, it doesn’t seem to be a good move, at least at this time. Maybe some other time when government revenue is enough.)

While this will surely aid the youth, it might result in additional taxes on petroleum products, luxury cars, other products and services.

The measure might also be abused if not implemented properly.

“The elders or the other people may use iyong bata to make the purchase pero gagamit ay hindi naman iyong junior citizen,” said Abelardo.

(The elders or the other people might use the child to make a purchase meant for someone else.)

Loopholes of this proposed bill will be discussed once the Senate committee tackles the measure. — Joyce Balancio | UNTV News and Rescue

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