By Charissa Luci-Atienza
The House committee on ways and means, chaired by Nueva Ecija Rep. Estrellita Suansing, has approved the tax provision of a bill seeking to rename the National Museum as the “National Museum of the Philippines (NMP) ”.
Under the amended tax provision of the bill, the NMP shall be exempt from the payment of taxes, fees and charges imposed by the national government and its political subdivisions, agencies and instrumentalities.
The panel also approved the tax provision that all donations, in any form, to the NMP shall be exempt from the donor’s tax and the same shall be considered as allowable deduction from the gross income in computation of the income tax of the donor in accordance with the provisions of Republic Act 8424 otherwise known as the National Internal Revenue Code of 1987, as amended
The committee also decided that the importation of scientific, philosophical, historical and cultural books, supplies and materials for the use in the conservation or preservation work of the NMP shall be exempt from customs duties.
But the Suansing panel deleted the Section 22, which proposes tax incentives for donations of items to the NMP collections because of the government’s ongoing rationalization of fiscal incentives
The proposed “National Museum of the Philippines Act” provides for the renaming of the National Museum as the “National Museum of the Philippines”, or alternatively in Filipino, “Pambansang Museo ng Pilipinas.”
Under the bill, the NMP is tasked to keep an eye on the management and development of museums and collections of national scope or significance in the areas of arts, cultural heritage and natural history.
The NMP shall be considered as a trust of the government to ensure its independence and autonomy. It shall be attached solely for budgetary coordination and related purposes to the Department of Education (DepEd).
The whole Executive House, also known as the old Congress or Legislative Building, together with the Department of Finance Building and Department of Tourism, originally Agriculture and Commerce Building on Agrifina Circle in Rizal Park in Manila, shall be the permanent and exclusive site of the NMP.
The NMP shall be governed by a 15-member board of trustees or board composed of eight representatives of the private sector and the following as ex-officio members: the chairperson of the appropriate committee of the Senate covering the field of culture, the chairperson of the appropriate committee of the House of Representatives covering the field of culture, the secretaries of the Departments of Education, Environment and Natural Resources, and Tourism, the chairperson of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, and the director-general of the NMP.
The chairperson of the board shall be designated by the President of the Philippines from among the members representing the private sector.
Under the measure, the NMP shall be headed by a director-general, who shall serve as the head of agency with a rank and emoluments of an undersecretary. The director-general shall be assisted by a deputy director-general for museums and a deputy director-general for administration, each of whom shall hold the rank and emoluments of an assistant secretary.
The bill also provides for the preservation of the Senate Halls of the House of Representatives and the Senate in the Old Legislative Building; dedication of the NMP Complex to Dr. Jose Rizal; development of a master plan for the NMP Complex; and maintenance of existing regional museums and satellite offices, and creation of new ones in administrative regions where there are currently none.