By Hannah Torregoza
Do you want to help the Commission on Human Rights? Press lawmakers to pass Peoples’ Fund Bill.
This was Senator Paolo “Bam” Aquino IV’s call in response to public outcry after the House of Representatives’ moved to grant a meager P1,000 annual budget to the CHR.
Aquino, author of Senate Bill No. 699 which he filed last year, gives taxpayers a chance to decide to which agency they want their taxes to go.
“We want Filipinos to get involved in governance and the budget process. The People’s Fund Bill gives them the chance to do that,” said Aquino in a statement.
“Galing sa pinaghirapan ng taumbayan ang ginagamit na pondo ng pamahalaan kaya nararapat lang natin silang konsultahin kung paano ito gagamitin (The money will come from the hard earned money of the people that’s why it is only appropriate they get consulted on how the government intends to use the money),” added Sen. Bam.
Aquino made the pronouncement after netizens started the “#GiveMyTaxToCHR” campaign after the House gave the CHR a 1,000-peso budget for 2018. Netizens have demanded that their tax be given to the CHR and not to the PNP’s Oplan Tokhang, which was handed a P900-million budget for 2018.
If approved, the People’s Fund Bill would create mechanisms for an individual taxpayer to allocate five percent of his or her income tax for any of the following: an accredited charity or civil society organization; a priority national or local government project; or a legitimate political party.
Under this bill, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) would be tasked to draft the mechanism that would enable individual taxpayers to select beneficiaries upon filing of their annual income tax returns.
The Department of Budget and Management (DBM), on the other hand, shall determine the eligibility of respective organizations, and shall likewise set the conditions, guidelines, and reporting requirements for the receipt and use of the funds by the benefitting organizations.
“Kapag ito’y naisa-batas, may kapangyarihan na ang taxpayer na piliin kung saan pupunta ang porsyento ng perang ito. Ginagawa na ito sa ibang mga bansa at panahon nang gawin ito sa Pilipinas, (Once this is passed into law, taxpayers will have the power to choose where they want a portion of their earnings to go to. This is done in other countries and I think it’s high time we do it here in the Philippines),” he said.