MANILA (UPDATED) — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has vetoed a measure seeking to provide income tax exemption to those who render services during election, Malacañang said Saturday.
The bill would have covered income tax exemption on the allowances, honoraria, and other cash benefits of poll workers.
"The studies of pertinent government agencies on the revenue loss is too substantial an impact to be foregone," Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles said.
Cruz-Angeles added that the bill runs counter to the goals of the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program, which sought to correct issues hounding Philippine taxes and "negate the progressivity of the reforms introduced under TRAIN Law."
In his veto message, Marcos said that while he respects the legislative branch’s intent to provide additional benefits for election workers, he noted that the tax exemption for one sector “will be inequitable to other persons performing similar activities and/or services.”
“Providing additional support to any sector is best addressed through targeted budgetary spending rather than through the tax system,” the President said.
“I encourage Congress to enact measures that are consistent with the thrust and commitment of this administration towards national economic recovery,” he said.
According to the Department of Education, more than 647,000 teaching and non-teaching personnel served in this year's polls.
'SLAP IN THE FACE' OF ELEX WORKERS
Deputy Minority Leader France Castro criticized Marcos' veto of the proposed measure, saying it is a "slap in the face of every teacher across the country who served the past elections" who worked for hours.
Castro said government should remove the 20 percent tax on poll workers' honoraria and allowances. She said the tax "destroys the spirit and intent of the Election Service Reform Act."
"They must therefore enjoy the compensation in full and not bear additional burdens... Add to this the fact that no tax was ever imposed on the honoraria and other election service benefits until 2018, since there is no law providing for such imposition," she said.
"We will continue to fight for just compensation for our election service workers. We are studying all options to counter this highly unjust move of the President," she added.