Cash aid, tax relief sought for Boracay residents, businesses

MANILA A party-list lawmaker on Monday cited the need to provide financial assistance for households and businesses affected by the six-month shutdown of Boracay Island.

1-CARE Rep. Carlos Roman Uybarreta said cash grants and tax relief are necessary considering that the carrying capacity of the island would be limited to 19,000 tourists per day, or about 55,000 people, including residents and workers.

He also said that the Department of Tourism accredited only 157 establishments in Boracay with 7,300 total combined rooms.

"With all these limitations, the financial health of Boracay businesses, employees, and residents will certainly be troubled this year and in 2019. Giving them urgent tax relief will ease the pain they are suffering," Uybarreta said.

Uybarreta filed House Bill 8537, or the Boracay Cleanup Shutdown Assistance and Ecological Sustainability Act of 2018.

Under the bill, there shall be a one-time allowable extraordinary operating loss deduction equivalent to 50 percent of audited operating losses incurred in taxable year 2018 for corporations, proprietorships, partnerships, and cooperatives based and operating in Boracay Island and the municipalities of Malay and Caticlan in the Aklan province.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development shall also be mandated to extend a special monthly cash grant for residents or families of Boracay Island PHP700 for every household member of families already enrolled in the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).

Meanwhile, PHP500 shall be granted for every household member of families not enrolled in the 4Ps, but whose income are derived purely from monthly compensation income of less than PHP20,000.

The Pantawid cash grant shall be sourced from the President's Social Fund, 1 percent of the lotto income of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, and from taxes of the national government earned from the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law.

The bill also proposes the creation of a Boracay Ecological Sustainability Fund, which shall be derived from a Boracay Sustainability Fee of PHP20 to be paid by every passenger of airlines and passenger ships traveling to and from Boracay, Caticlan, or Malay. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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