MANILA — The Makabayan bloc has refiled its proposed tax breaks for election workers, which President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. recently vetoed.
ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro, Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas and Kabataan Rep. Raoul Manuel refiled the bill to exempt from taxation the honoraria of poll workers rendering election day duties in voting precincts.
Marcos vetoed the measure because it would have negated tax reforms that removed exemptions given to various groups, Malacañang earlier said.
But the lawmakers argued that the annual revenue loss from the measure is only pegged at P138.6 million, as noted by another proponent, Ways and Means Chairperson and Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Salceda.
"And while this loss means so little to the national coffers—as it surely will be offset by truly progressive tax measures that levy more from the rich than the poor and the middle class—this amount means so much to the thousands of teachers and other poll service volunteers who rely on whatever benefits and savings they can get," the lawmakers said in their explanatory note.
They noted that volunteers for poll service are mostly public school teachers who sit as members of the Boards of Election Inspectors.
Taxes on their compensation "destroys the spirit and intent" of Republic Act 10756 "to compensate the hardships of persons rendering election service," the lawmakers argued.
"They must therefore enjoy the compensation in full and not bear additional burdens," they added.
Malacañang earlier said the government would give "some form of assistance" to poll workers instead of the tax break.
"That way, maayos ang sistema ng pangongolekta natin ng buwis, pero matutulungan pa rin natin sila," said Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles.
(That way, our system of collecting taxes is streamlined, yet we are still helping them.)