Tax break for doctors extending pro bono services eyed | Inquirer News

Tax break for doctors extending pro bono services eyed

By: - Reporter / @DYGalvezINQ
/ 11:10 AM September 24, 2020

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MANILA, Philippines — A lawmaker is proposing tax breaks or incentives for doctors rendering pro bono or free healthcare and medical services to indigent patients.

Deputy Speaker Luis Raymund Villafuerte has filed House Bill No. 7631 which seeks to deduct tax credits from the gross income of physicians providing pro bono services.

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“While there is a wide gap to quality healthcare access among the poor and marginalized, some physicians have taken it upon themselves to volunteer to render free health services to people who cannot afford to seek medical attention,” he said in a statement on Thursday.

“This bill recognizes and incentivizes, through the grant of a tax credit, the invaluable  pro bono services physicians in the country. It intends to encourage our physicians to put hours and services for such purpose,” he added.

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Under the bill, the Department of Health and the Philippine Medical Association are tasked to evaluate these free services, compute the hours rendered, and the nature of the treatment involved.

Villafuerte lamented the insufficient number of doctors in the country, pointing out that in 2019, there is only one doctor for 33,000 Filipinos.

“The global average of a doctor to patient ratio is 1:6,600. In 2019, the Philippines has a doctor-to-patient ratio of 1:33,000,” Villafuerte noted.

Villafuerte earlier filed House Bill No. 7007 which seeks to establish a medical reserve corps that will be on standby to supplement frontliners in the healthcare systems during health emergencies and disasters.

He said the lack of medical personnel during the initial stages of the country’s fight against the novel coronavirus pandemic has shown the urgent need to  establish a medical reserve corps “to ensure that the healthcare system is never overwhelmed during emergencies.”

The House Committee on Health earlier endorsed the formation of a medical reserve corps to augment the country’s health personnel in cases of pandemics and other health emergencies.

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