Senate committee amends Red Cross Charter
The approval in the committee level of the bill seeking to amend Republic Act No. 95, or the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) Charter was lauded by Senator Richard J. Gordon (Ind.) today.
Gordon, chairman of the PNRC, said that Senate Bill 2591, which he and Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri authored, clarifies that the PNRC shall not be considered a government corporation or institution.
He explained that being an independent organization, the PNRC should not be covered by government auditing, procurement and civil service regulations applicable to other government instrumentalities.
"This bill reiterates the actual intent of the law and clarifies it once and for all so that there can be no more questions as to the objective of the government to recognize the PNRC as an independent body. Although the PNRC is an auxiliary to the government, its purposes are humanitarian, its purposes are pursuant to the Geneva Conventions," Gordon said.
The senator said that the bill also clarifies the exemption of the organization from payment of all direct and indirect taxes, fees and other charges of all kinds.
He stressed that the PNRC does not receive a budget from the national government. It has been given tax exempt status on its donations of real property but remains subject to real property tax.
"The only reason why we are clarifying the incentives or tax privileges is because there is an inconsistent pattern, depending on the BIR Commissioner," Gordon said.
"We want to make sure this time that there can be no inconsistencies, that these tax benefits that are given by the government for donations as well as for properties owned by the Red Cross will be clearly tax exempt," he added.