House bill incentivizing corporate social responsibility passes final reading
MANILA, Philippines — House Bill No. 451 — the proposed “Corporate Social Responsibility Act” incentivizing corporate social responsibility (CSR) in private companies — hurdled its third and final reading in the House of Representatives on Monday.
The bill passed House plenary session with a vote of 283 affirmative votes and only three negative votes.
“This measure recognizes the important role of the private sector not only in nation-building but also in developing and aiding our communities to raise the quality of life of our citizens. With the vast resources available to our corporations, they are in a position to help our country,” House Speaker Martin Romualdez said in a statement.
However, Kabataan Partylist Rep. Raoul Manuel, one of the three negative votes, pointed out that private companies could use corporate social responsibility (CSR) as a means to hide their exploitative labor practices.
“There is a lack of a clear regulatory framework in the bill that can prevent the use of CSR for corrupt practices and tax loopholes. This can lead to corporations using CSR as a means of evading taxes and engaging in patron-clientelism,” he added.
One of the components of the bill includes allowing corporations to retain profits in excess of 100% of their paid-in capital stock of CSR programs.
In addition, the bill would also amend laws prohibiting local government units under a state of calamity to accept donations under CSR activities.
The bill would also mandate the Department of Trade and Industry to recognize outstanding CSR services among companies.