MANILA, Philippines - A day before the Senate go on Lenten break, Sen. Manny Villar Thursday filed a bill that seeks to remove value-added tax on medicines.
"Hindi naman talaga dapat na patungan pa ng VAT ang gamot. Dagdag na pahirap po iyan sa mga mahihirap na kababayan natin na may sakit. Kulang na nga ang pambili nila ng pagkain, lalong hindi nila kayang bumili ng mahal na gamot," (Medicines should not in the first place be included in the 12 percent value added tax (VAT). That for me is an added burden to our poor people with illness. They already have not enough money for foods, they cannot afford to buy expensive medicines) Villar said.
Villar, who is chairman of the Quality Affordable Medicine Oversight Committee, authored Senate Bill 3163 which seeks to exempt the sale and importation of drugs, medicines, pharmaceutical products and related raw materials and pharmaceutical equipment and instruments used for drug manufacturing from the coverage of Republic Act 8424 or the National Internal Revenue Code.
A counterpart bill was also filed at the House of Representatives. Las Piñas Rep. Mark Villar authored House Bill 6051.
In filing the bill, the younger Villar said tax on medicine is regressive and becomes more burdensome on the poor who are less likely to have access to medicines.
The Family Income and Expenditure Survey of the National Statistics Office, drugs and medicines account for 46 percent of the total medical out-of-pocket expenses of households.