Manila, Philippines — Sen. Juliana Pilar “Pia” Cayetano on Thursday said the benefits of the country’s six million senior citizens are still intact despite a new revenue regulation issued by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).
Cayetano made the assurance after reports that the BIR is “taking back” the supposed Value-Added Tax (VAT) exemption for electricity and water utilities for senior citizens.
She said that no benefits are being reduced or withdrawn because the VAT exemption for utilities is not part and was never part of the Expanded Senior Citizens Act (ESCA).
“It was inadvertently included in the BIR’s Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR). Clearly, the inclusion of VAT exemption for utilities is erroneous because the IRR cannot expand the provisions of the law,” said Cayetano, who authored Republic Act 9994.
“So there’s nothing to take back because the VAT exemption for utilities is not included in the Law in the first place. But all existing benefits under ESCA are intact, including VAT exemption for medicines, medical services, transportation, dining places, and others,” she added.
Hannah Torregoza, Manila Bulletin