Senator Cynthia Villar on Wednesday opposed the government’s proposal to lift the value-added tax (VAT) exemption on residential housing valued at P3 million, saying it will burden overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
At the continuation of the Senate ways and means committee hearing on the Duterte administration’s tax reform proposal, Villar told the Department of Finance (DOF) that removing the VAT exemption on housing would be tantamount to “penalizing the OFWs.”
“Ang sabi natin, ang OFWs and modern-day heroes of the Philippines. Sila yung nagpapaganda ng ating ekonomiya... In fact, without them, mahihirapan ang bansa natin. Ang pangarap nila, based on survey, is to buy a home. Tapos tatanggalin mo yung exemption sa VAT on P3 million?” Villar told Finance Undersecretary Tonette Tiongco.
Villar, whose family’s business is real estate, said the proposal would discourage OFWs from investing their hard-earned money abroad into housing.
“Is it worth it na hindi mo pablihin ng bahay ang mga OFWs para mabigay mo sa gobyerno tapos hindi naman gagastusin ng maayos ng gobyerno?” she said.
“Lahat ng gobyerno sinupport yun tapos kayo lang ang magtatanggal. Para ano? Bibigay niyo sa DBM (Department of Budget and Management)?” Villar added.
Tiongco said the DOF “will consider” Villar’s sentiments, but said that the government’s tax reform proposal must be “passed in its entirety” to “give the Filipinos the social services they deserve.”
The proposed tax reform measure of the Duterte administration is aiming to lower income taxes while limiting value added tax (VAT) exemptions, adjusting excise taxeson oil and automobiles, and imposing new taxes on sugar sweetened drinks.
Senator Sonny Angara, chairman of the committee, said the government should find a balance by implementing “reforms on both revenue and expenditure side.”
“We’re also asking the DOF to come up with administrative reforms to match the legislative reforms,” he said. — MDM, GMA News