House approves Hidilyn Diaz Act on second reading | Inquirer News
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House approves Hidilyn Diaz Act on second reading

/ 05:36 PM August 24, 2021
House approves Hidilyn Diaz Act on second reading

FILE – Gold medallist Philippines’ Hidilyn Diaz stands on the podium for the victory ceremony of the women’s 55kg weightlifting competition during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Tokyo International Forum in Tokyo on July 26, 2021. (Photo by Vincenzo PINTO / AFP)

MANILA, Philippines — The bill that seeks to provide tax exemptions to rewards, incentives, and bonuses to competing or winning national athletes and their coaches has been approved by the House of Representatives on second reading.

House Bill No. 9990, also known as the Hidilyn Diaz Act in honor of the country’s first Olympic gold medalist, moves closer to being ratified by Congress as lawmakers unanimously approved the proposed measure.

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If enacted, the bill would insert a provision in Republic Act No. 10699 or the National Athletes and Coaches Benefits Act, under Section 4-A which states that “all incentives, rewards, bonuses and other forms of emoluments, as well as donations, gifts, endowment and contributions […] shall be exempt from any and all national or local taxes, fees, charges”.

The lawmakers’ primary authors, including co-authors, said this is meant to support national athletes who compete and win on the international stage.

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Just this August 9, the House committee on ways and means, headed by the committee chair and Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Salceda, approved the consolidated versions of different House bills intended to honor the athletes, including Diaz.

READ: ‘Hidilyn Diaz Act’ seeks tax-free cash donations, rewards for athletes 

READ: House panel to approve ‘Hidilyn Diaz Act’ this week, says Salceda 

The legal issue on whether rewards given to athletes should be taxed started when private companies provided some incentives or even tried to match the grants given to Diaz by the national government.  Aside from monetary prizes, some companies offered freebies ranging from free flights, free cars, a free lifetime supply of products, and other sorts of incentives.

However, there was a dilemma as it was unclear whether a part of the grants made by private companies to Diaz was actually taxable. The current law provides tax exemption only to rewards from the state.  Some lawmakers believed that there is no basis for tax rewards given to Olympians like Diaz.

READ: Hidilyn Diaz’s gold medal prize to reach more than 

READ: No basis for taxing Olympians’ rewards – former House Speaker Alvarez 

Aside from Diaz, other athletes competing in the Olympics managed to bag medals, like Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam (silver, boxing) and Eumir Marcial (bronze).

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TAGS: Hidilyn Diaz, Hidilyn Diaz Act, House Committee on Ways and Means, House of Representatives, national athletes, Philippine athletes, Philippine news updates, second reading, Tokyo Olympics
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