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New tax proposal stalls Gawad Kalinga bill

by Christine F. Herrera
[ manilastandardtoday.com ] June 29, 2011

HOUSE leaders have declared the controversial Gawad Kalinga Way bill for “further deliberations” to find out whether or not they will drop the imposition of an extra 1-percent real property tax to finance the government’s P84-billion housing program for 1.2 million homeless families.

The order came following protests from several lawmakers and civil society groups against the proposed new tax, and it came even after the main panel approved House Bill 4374, which is principally authored by House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr.

Belmonte met with 20 other co-authors to agree that the bill be discussed with local government units so the House could decide whether or not to drop the 1-percent extra tax, said Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, the bill’s co-author.

They reached the consensus following criticisms the new tax imposition would be “forced volunteerism and patriotism,” Rodriguez said.

“Further deliberations would be made so that we could remedy the problem of where to source the funding should we decide to delete the tax provision,” he said.

Shortly before Congress went on sine die adjournment, the House committee on people’s participation, led by Manila Rep. Benjamin Asilo, approved House Bill 4374 and passed it on to the House committee on ways and means led by Batangas Rep. Hermilando Mandanas.

On the House leadership’s directive, Mandanas, co-author of the Speaker’s bill, tossed the GK bill to the subcommittee on local government taxation and finance led by Antique Rep. Paolo Javier.
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