Salceda rebuffs PCSO on no tax bid

August 24, 2019

RESOUNDING no.

This was the response of one of the House leaders to the appeal of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes (PCSO) to be exempted from paying taxes.

In a statement, Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, vice-chairman of the Committee on Appropriations even warned the PCSO of budget scrutiny if it insists on tax exemption.

According to Salceda, it is clear in the mandate of the PCSO that it shall provide additional financial help to the indigents once the other agencies concerned cannot give enough.

“The answer is no. During budget hearings, pinapatawag sila as revenue agency not as an expenditure center,” Salceda said when asked to comment on the PCSO appeal.

Salceda is the chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means, which studies and reviews measures on taxation and others.

The solon said the PCSO is asking too much, “far more than they could chew.”

“Assuming they retain the P26 billion. They don’t have the delivery system to efficiently and effectively target poor patients or simply the processing of an expansive constituency given that they are organized only at provincial level,” he added.

The House leader even stressed that health delivery is primarily assigned by law to PhilHealth, Department of Health (DOH) and local government units (LGUs).

The PCSO, on the other hand, is identified in the Universal Health Law as source of funds.

“Their current role is to provide the out-of-pocket that can’t be funded by PHIC, LGUs and DOH. So is the P26 billion better off in their hands especially since their Budget is not scrutinised by Congress?” Salceda stressed.

“ They want to do the role of DOH, PHIC and LGUs. Like DSWD pangsuport lang sila sa kulang ng indigents. Eh baka mawindang sila pag kinalkal ang patient profiles mas marami ang non-indigents,” he added.

Salceda also noted that PCSO has been doing things that are beyond “individual medical assistance” outside of the mandatory contributions.

During the budget deliberation in the House of Representatives, the PCSO appealed to Congress if they could be exempted from any taxation so that all the funds sourced from lottery will be used for charity purposes.

Officials of the PCSO said that big chunks of the agency’s funds go to taxes.