A tax relief for Filipino doctors rendering free services to poor patients has been proposed in the House of Representatives to encourage the Filipino professionals to stay in the country.
Rep. Estrellita “Ging” Suansing of Nueva Ecija province made the pitch under her House Bill 2790 which seeks to grant tax relief to physicians rendering pro bono services to poor patients and indigents thru a form of tax credits to be deducted from their gross income.
Suansing cited that her proposal is in accordance to the state policy of providing for an integrated and comprehensive approach to health development, and endeavor to make essential goods, health and other social services available to all the people at affordable cost.
“Doctors in the country have taken up nursing courses as their stepping stone to higher paying nursing jobs abroad. The resulting shortage of healthcare workers lessens the access of our poor countrymen to basic health care services. Thus, there is a need to give incentive to Filipino doctors to persuade them not to leave our country and be of help here,” Suansing, a neophyte lawmaker, pointed out.
Suansing’s proposal tasks the Department of Health (DOH) and the Philippine Medical Association (PMA) to evaluate the pro bono services rendered by the physicians considering the number of hours and nature of treatment involved.
Then, the Bureau of Internal Revenue, in consultation with the DOH and the PMA, will promulgate the rules and regulations for the enforcement of the proposed measure.
“It is sad to note that many of our countrymen, particularly in the rural areas, cannot afford the cost of seeking medication. If at all, many of our countrymen seek medical attention after their condition has gone worse and die without even seeking medications. The state should implement measures that protect and promote the right of the people to health,” Suansing, Vice Chairperson of the House Committee on Women and Gender Equality, added. LLANESCA T. PANTI