Solons push anti-VAT bills


Lawmakers who filed several measures aiming to remove value-added tax on electricity and water charges are seeking the immediate consideration of the House of Representatives and Malacañang.

The proposed bills were first filed in the previous Congresses but have been refiled in a bid to help the Filipinos cope with rising commodity prices amid the country’s continuing battle with the pandemic and high inflation rate, which spiked at its fastest pace in over 14 years in October.

The country’s annual inflation rate last month, which rose to 7.7 percent, was the highest since December 2008.

House Bills 5994, 5995, 5996 and 5997 were refiled at the 19th Congress on Wednesday.

House members urged the leadership to immediately hear these bills and that Malacañang should also classify them as urgent.

HB 5994, which seeks to amend the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997 to exclude the system loss charge component of electric bills from the 12 percent VAT, was approved on the third and final reading in the 17 Congress but obviously not enacted, which prompted the bloc to refiled it anew in the 18th Congress.

HB 5995, on the other hand, seeks to have electricity sold by generation, transmission and distribution be VAT-exempt, was introduced in the 14th Congress by former Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casino and reintroduced anew in subsequent Congresses.

To recall, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., weeks after winning the presidential race in May, was urged to bring down the high power rates currently being paid by end-users due to double taxation on electricity.

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