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Salceda proposes 20% discount for purchases of BHWs

September 13th, 2021

Salceda proposes 20% discount for purchases of BHWs; House tax panel approves Magna Carta for Barangay Health Workers

House Ways and Means Chair Joey Sarte Salceda (Albay, 2nd district) is proposing a 20-percent discount for Barangay Health Workers (BHWs) as an improved amendment to the Magna Carta for Barangay Health Workers, which was approved by the House Committee on Ways and Means today.

In his remarks to the committee during the meeting, Salceda said that the provision “honors the social obligation that we owe BHWs, most of whom were not compensated for the risks they took during the pandemic, and who were not included in the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act.”

Salceda pointed out that Administrative Order No. 36, which implemented the Special Risk Allowance to health care workers, only provided benefits “to BHWs assigned to hospitals, laboratories, or medical and quarantine facilities.” The Order explicitly excluded BHWs “who are not assigned to hospitals, laboratories, or medical and quarantine facilities.”

“The AO was extremely limiting. It’s not like the BHWs were not at risk when they were just doing contact tracing work or serving those who were quarantined at home. That was not our intention in Congress, and we have to correct it somehow,” Salceda said.

Salceda added that “the BHWs are the most important component of this granular approach that we are now taking. Without BHWs, this approach will not work. The risks they take are immense. By definition, they are almost always low-income. They deserve a bit of compensation.”

House tax panel approves Magna Carta for BHWs

During its regular meeting today, the House tax panel approved the Unnumbered Substitute Bill to House Bills No. 22, 44, 165, 439, 536, 602, 670, 690, 763, 874, 1304, 1366, 1494, 1557, 1787, 2081, 2700, 3159, 3276, 3291, 3355, 3487, 3511, 3801, 3985, 4096, 4271, 4395, 4575, 5003, 5026, 5057, 5342, 5496, 6263, 6562, and 6629, entitled, “AN ACT PROVIDING FOR A MAGNA CARTA FOR BARANGAY HEALTH WORKERS.”

The Committee on Local Government, the mother committee of the proposal, sent BHW Party List Representative Angelica Natasha Co as its representative to the House tax committee.

The original proposal of the mother committee was to grant a 10% discount and a VAT exemption to BHWs, only for their medical needs.

Salceda’s proposed amendment was to grant a 20% discount on all items enumerated under the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010.

“This is a wider provision with more benefits, without disturbing the integrity of the VAT system. So, I thank the Committee on Local Government for concurring with the amendment.”

The items that BHWs will be able to get discounts to under the proposal include health expenses, public transport fares, hotels and restaurants, theaters and cinemas, and burial and death care expenses.

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