House passes ‘HD Act’ of 2021


The House Committee on Ways and Means on Monday approved the proposed Hidilyn Diaz Act of 2021 to assure that all rewards, bonuses, and other forms of emoluments for national athletes and coaches who compete or win international sports competitions shall be exempted from all taxes, fees, and charges.

The substitute bill authored by House Ways and Means Chairman Joey Sarte Salceda and Speaker Lord Allan Jay Velasco seeks to amend Republic Act No. 10699 or the National Athletes and Coaches Benefits and Incentives Act.

The bill was filed in light of the historic gold medal win of weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

With the House tax panel’s approval, Salceda said the bill will move to the House plenary, where it is also expected to be approved swiftly as a measure principally sponsored by the House Speaker.

For his part, Finance Assistant Secretary Dakila Napao told lawmakers that the Department of Finance is supporting the passage of the bill.

“We agree on the large part of the bill, we agree to amend RA 10699 rather have a separate bill. But we will would like to propose safety measures in the bill. We are okay with putting a period in terms of availing of the exemptions on donations or prizes. A period which is very approximate to the competition that being considered as well as putting here in the bill that donations shall be reported to the BIR by the donors,” he said.

Under the bill, exemption of incentives, rewards, bonuses, and other forms of emoluments from persons or entities, whether public or private, in favor of national athletes and coaches who compete or win in international sports competitions as defined in this proposal from any and all taxes, fees, and charges levied  by any government agency, local or national, subject to rules and regulations to be issued by the secretary of finance, as recommended by the  commissioner of Internal Revenue.

Also, the bill said the exemption provided in this proposal shall not be in lieu of any and all tax privileges granted under  existing laws to national athletes and coaches, or the donors of said incentives, rewards, bonuses and  other forms of emoluments: provided, further, that  said incentives, rewards, bonuses, and other forms of emoluments donated under this proposal, or the fair market value in case of gifts made in property, shall be considered as allowable deductions from gross income for purposes of computing the taxable income of the donor in accordance with the provisions of the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997, as amended. 

The bill added the benefits granted under this proposal shall be effective June 1, 2021 to cover all incentives, rewards, bonuses, and other forms of emoluments in favor of national athletes and coaches who compete or win in the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Game.
“This was the first gold medal for the Philippines in the history of the Olympics. Ever since, the country has been assured of four medal finishes, its strongest ever Olympic performance,” said Salceda.

“As promised, we did it this week. There are still some issues to reconcile with the Committee on Youth and Sports, such as whether we want to include local sports competitions. But we’ll do that probably on the House floor. As for the duty of the Committee on Ways and Means, we have already dispensed it,” Salceda said.

Other authors of the bill include Rep. Faustino Michael Carlos T. Dy III, Precious Hipolito Castelo, Rodolfo M. Ordanes, Rodante D. Marcoleta, Michael L. Romero, Ph.D., and Enrico A. Pineda.

“While the tax exemptions are one thing, public investment is the greater need, and we need to continue working on that. The best Olympic performance of this country corresponded with the largest public investment in our Olympic program, ever,” he added.

“Under past presidents, we budgeted only around 230 to 260 million to the Philippine Olympic Committee [POC] during Olympic years. Certainly, this was the case during the past two administrations. In fact, even PGMA [Gloria Macapagal Arroyo] gave higher budgets to the POC than under PNOY [Benigno Aquino III]. Under President Duterte, the budget for the POC is at P944 million for this year, almost four times the budgets under past presidents,” Salceda cited.

Image courtesy of AP

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