Tobacco Growers, Di Dapat Agrabyado sa Sin Tax Bill – Senado

admin   •   August 16, 2012   •   2457

 

FILE PHOTO: Senator Alan Peter Cayetano (UNTV News)

PASAY CITY, Philippines — Sinimulan nang talakayin sa Senado ang Sin Tax Bill na isa umano sa mga priority measure ng Pamahalaan upang mapagkunan ng pondo para naman sa mga programang pangkalusugan.

Ang nasabing panukala ay magpapataw ng karagdagang buwis sa tobacco at alcohol products. Sakaling maging batas, may pondo nang mapagkukunan para sa health services ang pamahalaan kabilang na ang para sa mga Philhealth Ward.

Ayon sa Department of Finance, nasa P60-B pesos ang initial revenue target collection sa naturang panukala.

“We’ve allocated 15% of the increase in revenues for this purpose including for farmers,” pahayag ni Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima.

Dumalo rin sa pagdinig ang mga kasapi ng Philippine Tobacco Growers Association.

Ayon kina Senador Ferdinand “Bong Bong” Marcos Jr at Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, mahalaga pa rin sa kanila ang kapakanan ng mga tobacco farmer sa bansa.

“Mataas nga ang buwis at makakakolekta sila ng mas marami pero sa kabilang panig naman baka kung ano ang epekto nito sa mga farmers. Dapat makatulong tayo para di sila mapinsala,” paliwanag ni Marcos Jr.

“Mababawasan ang income nila eh yun ang pinanggagalingan ng extra income nila. Crust craft nila ang tobacco. We are not against (them). Dapat pare-pareho lng ang treatment. May papaboran tapos ang iba’y pahihirapan di ako papayag nyan,” pahayag naman ni Enrile.

“Dito nahahanda tayo na makinig muna sa mga presentation ng magkabilang panig. Pero sa palagay ko may concensus naman na magkaroon ng karagdagang buwis na magagamit lalo na sa kalusugan,” pahayag naman ni Senador Manny Villar.

Matapos ang unang hearing, ipinahayag ni Committee Chairperson Senator Ralph Recto ang ilang napagkasunduan na ng komite hinggil sa naturang panukala.

“The ideas to come out with the fair responsible measure that will generate revenues as well for Philhealth and for the other health needs of the health sectors,” pahayag ni Recto.

Ayon pa kay Recto, aabutin pa ng dalawa hanggang tatlong pagdinig ng Senado bago magkaroon ng rekomendasyon ang Senate Committee On Ways And Means sa Sin Tax Bill. (Ito Ang Balita ni Bryan De Paz/Marje Navarro, UNTV News)

Velasco files bills granting president power to suspend PhilHealth, SSS rate hikes

Robie de Guzman   •   January 7, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco on Thursday said he has filed two separate bills seeking to grant the president the power to suspend the scheduled increases in the contribution rates of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) and the Social Security System (SSS) in times of national emergencies.

In a statement, Velasco said his twin measures propose to amend Republic Act (RA) 11223 or the Universal Health Care Act, and RA 11199 or the Social Security Act of 2018, which provide for gradual increases in monthly premium contributions in PhilHealth and SSS, respectively.

The bills authorize the president to suspend the implementation of the scheduled increases in premium rates in times of national emergencies “when public interest so requires.”

But this should be in consultation with the secretaries of health and finance departments as chairpersons of PhilHealth and SSS, respectively.

The measures were filed after President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the suspension of the premium rate increase.

Velasco said RA 11223 was enacted in 2018 to ensure that all Filipinos are guaranteed equitable access to quality and affordable health care goods and services, and protected against financial risk.

He said the intent of the law is clear and cannot be overemphasized—Filipinos need and deserve a comprehensive set of health services that are cost-effective, of high quality, and responsive.

The House speaker, however, stressed that the current situation is extraordinary and that Congress must respond accordingly as he called for the swift approval of the bills aimed at alleviating the financial burden faced by many Filipino workers amid the crisis.

“While we recognize that the [PhilHealth] only aims to implement the provisions of RA 11223, imposing a higher premium rate to our kababayans under our current conditions will definitely enforce a new round of financial burden to its members,” Velasco said in the explanatory note of House Bill 8316.

“Suspending the imposition of the new PhilHealth premium rates will provide a much-needed relief from the negative effects of the pandemic and will assure Filipinos that the government is sensitive to their sentiments,” he said.

In filing HB 8317, Velasco said the temporary suspension of the hike in SSS contributions will help the workforce achieve faster recovery from the impact of the pandemic.

“We are witnesses to the negative impact of this COVID-19 outbreak. Under this pretext, the sovereign government must be given the prerogative to bend the rules of the social security law in favor of the greater good,” Velasco said.

He likewise said that increasing the rate of contributions of SSS members will “strikingly undermine the recovery effort of everyone suffering from job losses, wage reduction, business closures, and health-related issues.”

PhilHealth to pay partial amount of P265-M in debt to Philippine Red Cross this week

Marje Pelayo   •   January 6, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) is likely to pay a partial amount of its debt to the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) this week amounting to P265 million pesos.

According to the agency’s spokesperson Rey Baleña, the state insurer’s outstanding balance with PRC is at P728.6 million pesos from its coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing.

Baleña assures that they have enough funds to pay its debt only that it needs to go through proper procedure.

“Hindi issue dito ang pondo o pambayad. Ito ay ginagarantiyahan natin na meron tayong pondo. In fact nakalaan na ang ating pondo para sa COVID response natin (Funding is not an issue. We guarantee that we have the fund. In fact, we have already allocated our funds for COVID-19 response),” he said.  

Meanwhile, PhilHealth said they have returned around P103.4 million worth of defective claims to the PRC.

Baleña said as required by the Commission on Audit (COA) claims must be carefully scrutinized before they are processed.

“Hindi natin sinama sa mga kuwenta na yan yung mga claims na ibinalik natin sa kanila for compliance (We did not include in the computations claims which we returned to them for compliance),” Baleña said.

“Mayroong mga claims na nakita kami na hindi natin pwedeng iprocess, hindi natin pwedeng bayaran sapagkat may mga defect. Sa aming tala ay mga 103.4 million yung worth nung mga claims na ibinalik natin sa kanila for compliance (We identified claims which we couldn’t process for payment because of defects. In our data, it’s about P103.4 million worth of claims that we returned for compliance),” he added.

Apart from COVID-19 tests to frontliners and qualified members, PhilHealth also shoulders isolation expenses when a member is required to go on quarantine. This amounts to P23,000 per member.

In  case of COVID-19 positive members or severe COVID-19 conditions, PhilHealth is shouldering about P43,000 to P786,000 worth of expenses depending on the severity of the case. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

PhilHealth programs to continue despite deferment of premium rate increase

Marje Pelayo   •   January 6, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) will lose up to P13-B from its supposed collection of premium contribution this year due to the suspension of the .5 percent increase mandated under the Universal Health Care Law.

But the agency ensures that all of its programs and services will continue through government subsidy and from the support of various agencies.

PhilHealth Spokesperson Rey Baleño also noted that a high percentage of members is remitting their contributions despite the current coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

“Mayroong P13 billion (pesos) na hindi natin mare-realize kung ito ay madedefer sa taong ito,” he explained.

“Ngayon umaasa naman tayo sapagkat ang commitment ng pangulo sa tulong narin ng iba-ibang mga ahensya na humanap ng pondo na kakailanganin ng PhilHealth na dapat sana ay mage-generate ng nasabing premium adjustment,” he added.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday evening (January 4) asked PhilHealth Chief Atty. Dante Gierran to postpone the scheduled increase in members contribution this year while the public is facing a pandemic.

In a statement, PhilHealth heeded the Chief Executive’s call and deferred the premium rate hike until Congress passes an amendment on the said provision of the UHC.

READ: PhilHealth defers contribution rate hike until Congress passes amendment on UHC Law

Should there be no new legislation passed for this purpose, the state health insurer will proceed with the rate increase as mandated by the law. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

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