The 14-million member-strong cooperative movement represented by COOP-NATCCO Partylist Rep. Anthony Bravo thanked leaders of the House of Representatives on Wednesday after they committed to retain the tax exemptions currently extended to the country’s close to ten thousand cooperatives.
House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas had earlier announced that the tax exemptions of cooperatives would be retained in House Bill (HB) 5636 or the Tax Reform Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) tax package of the Duterte Administration.
Bravo confirmed that House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez III, together with Senior Deputy Majority Leader Juan Pablo Bondoc and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dakila Cua, had granted the request of cooperative movement leaders who had trooped to Congress to appeal to legislators to junk provisions in the TRAIN bill that would have removed the tax exemptions extended to cooperatives by virtue of Republic Act 9520, or the Philippine Cooperative Code of 2008.
“The cooperative movement is happy with this development, and very grateful to the 150-plus legislators who supported our call for the retention of coops’ tax exemptions,” said Bravo.
“We believe it shows that our representatives in Congress are still sensitive to the needs of their constituents.”
On Monday, more than 300 coop leaders led by the Philippine Cooperative Center (PCC) visited the House of Representatives to individually lobby their representatives.
Bravo said that coop leaders would continue to observe the proceedings in the House to ensure that the amendments to the TRAIN pertaining to their sector would be retained until the final version of the bill is passed by Congress.
“We expect around 500 coop leaders to go to the Batasan to mark this positive development. This is a victory for us, but we recognize that we still have to be vigilant,” Bravo said.
While leaders of the coooperative sector have expressed support for the objectives of the TRAIN tax package, they have exerted efforts to amend provisions of the measure that would tax cooperatives.
Coop leaders have argued that cooperatives should not be taxed like regular businesses because they are non-profit institutions that generate employment and provide loans and other services to its members.