Recto pushes anew for issuance of IRR for PWD tax exemption
Senate Minority Leader Ralph Recto has renewed his appeal for the issuance of implementing rules and regulations (IRR) which he said were the “missing link” in the implementation of a law that would grant tax exemptions to persons with disabilities (PWDs).
Recto lamented that seven months after Republic Act 10754 was signed into law last March, the measure remained “in limbo” as the IRR had yet to be issued by a multi-agency body drafting it.
Under the law, he said, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) will lead the drafting of the IRR, which defines how the provisions of the law will be “implemented, availed of, executed.”
The senator said other agencies in the drafting body were Department of Health (DOH), Department of Finance (DOF) and the National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA).
Despite the delay, Recto said, he would not give in to “conspiracy theory” that the IRR was being deliberately withheld due to the plan of the government’s economic managers to repeal all tax discounts of PWDs.
“I cling to the belief that the better angels of man’s nature will prevail in the end. That compassion would triumph over cold fiscal numbers,” he said in a statement on Thursday.
“I appeal once again that the IRR of Republic Act 10754 will be out soon. It’s the missing link in its full implementation,” the senator added.
Recto likened the law, without the IRR, to “a new car which sits in the garage but can’t be driven out yet.”
The release of the IRR, he said, was also seen by affected entities, like drug stores, as a requisite before they could carry out the provision of the law discounting purchases made by PWDs.
But the senator said “there ought to be no delay because there is an existing template, the one granted to senior citizens, insofar as discounts on purchases are made.”
He said the law merely grants to PWDs benefits already enjoyed by seniors, “so we’re not starting from scratch.”
“There is a tried system already in place. From points of sale sa stores, may sistema na,” Recto said.
While the law contains a provision, which states that failure of the concerned agencies to promulgate the IRR should not prevent the implementation of the law upon its effectivity,” the senator said, there was still no substitute for a set of written implementing rules “for purposes of clear implementation.”
“The automatic implementation clause kicks in only when there is deliberate move to deny or delay the release of the IRR,” he said.
“Unless I have seen a written obituary from the DOF and the DSWD that they’re burying it, I am not giving up. No civil servant would like to be remembered as undertakers of this measure,” Recto added.
The senator pointed out that under the law, PWDs should be exempted from all sales taxes on certain goods and services, like transport fares, medicines, medical and dental services and laboratory fees, raising the discount to 32 percent.
The law, he said, also grants a P25,000 annual income tax deduction to relatives within the fourth civil degree of consanguinity or affinity, who are caring for and living with a PWD. CDG/rga
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