Tax credits for doctors offering pro bono services proposed

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Thursday, December 26, 2013

MANILA -- Doctors rendering pro bono services to poor patients will soon be entitled to tax credits to be deducted from their gross income once a proposed law pending before the House committee on ways and means is approved in Congress.

Nueva Ecija Representative Estrellita Suansing said her House Bill 2790 seeks to answer the shortage of healthcare workers in the country, and improve the access of poor Filipinos to basic health care services.

"There is a need to give incentives to Filipino doctors to persuade them not to leave our country and be of help to our countrymen," Suansing said referring to the supposed exodus of health workers in recent years.

Under the proposal, the Department of Health (DOH) and the Philippine Medical Association (PMA) shall evaluate the pro bono services rendered by doctors considering the number of hours and nature of treatment involved.

The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), in consultation with the DOH and the PMA, shall promulgate the rules and regulations for the effective enforcement of the provisions of the proposed law.

Suansing, a first-term lawmaker, added that her proposal complements Article II, Section 15 of the Constitution which provides that the “State shall protect and promote the right of the people to health and instill health consciousness among them.”

"Most Filipinos choose to spend for their basic necessities first over their health. If at all, many of our countrymen seek medical attention after their condition has gone worse. Some, sadly, die without even seeking medications," she said.

Once the House bill passes the committee level, it will be sent to the House plenary for the chamber's approval. (Sunnex)

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