Press Release
September 30, 2020

Hontiveros: Only safe, worker-friendly firms should qualify for tax perks under CREATE bill

"The CREATE bill should ultimately benefit Filipinos workers and make their lives better amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Bukod sa paglago ng kita ng mga negosyo, dapat ay masiguro natin na darami ang ligtas at maayos na trabaho para sa ating mga kababayan."

This according to Senator Risa Hontiveros, who said that the Senate version of the proposed Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) bill should ensure that only business and employers with "safe and pro-worker" workplaces can avail of the tax incentives under the measure.

During the interpellations on the bill Tuesday night, Hontiveros said that the CREATE Bill should be "used to its full potential" to implement long-needed protections for workers. "Big businesses should not be the only ones to benefit from the provisions of the CREATE Bill. Dapat unang makinabang ang mga manggagawa sa pamamagitan ng ligtas na trabaho, tamang sahod at benepisyo na naayon sa batas," Hontiveros said.

Because of this, Hontiveros said she is seeking a new provision in the CREATE bill that will require businesses and entities seeking to access lower tax rates and incentives - such as the new 25 percent corporate income tax - under the measure to first secure a "seal of good housekeeping' from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). The seal, she said, will serve as certification that they comply with a package of practices and standards meant to protect the rights and welfare of workers.

To avail the seal and qualify for the new tax incentives, businesses and entities should prove that they comply with workplace health and safety requirements under the Occupational Safety and Health Law and are updated with the payment of Social Security System (SSS), PAGIBIG and PhilHealth contributions for their workers, Hontiveros said.

Likewise, she added, these firms should show that they pay their workers following rates in accordance with regional minimum wages issuances by government. "This will help us fix these common labor issues, such as the failure of many businesses to remit the SSS, PAGIBIG or PhilHealth contributions of their employees, and the continued practice of many employers to pay their workers way below the regional minimum wage standards," she said.

Hontiveros said that she is hopeful that the Senate version - and later the final version of the CREATE bill - will feature such a pro-worker provision, which will "go a long way in addressing major concerns of Filipino workers, such as unsafe working conditions, inequitable pay and other abuses and injustices."

"CREATE is a chance at a new social contract. Hindi na pwede ang dating gawi na ang mga manggagawa ay nagtitiis sa kakarampot na sahod, kulang na benepisyo at iba pang labor injustices. Ang pagsagip sa kapital ay nakabatay dapat sa pagsagip sa ating mga manggagawa. Yan ang kontratang dapat lang sa new and better normal," she concluded.

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