The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) urged Congress to reduce its documentary stamp tax (DST) by one-half, or from the current 20 percent to 10 percent to be able to contribute more funds to the Universal Health Care (UHC).
Testifying at a Senate hearing by the Committee on Health chaired by Senator Joseph Victor Estrada, PCSO chairman Junie Cua said cutting down the agency’s DST to 10 percent will enable the government-run charity firm to raise its contributions to the UHC by 170 percent, or to P3.4 billion from the projected P1.25 billion in the 20-percent setup.
“You will note that the ability of PCSO to contribute to the UHC program is the fact that we need to pay 20 percent of our receipts by way of documentary stamp tax and this runs into tens of billions. Our
advocacy right now is, if we can be allowed by Congress, to reduce our DST obligation, our contribution to UHC will increase,” Cua explained.
He added that the PCSO could contribute P3.3 billion if the DST rate was only 10 percent, and P4.4 billion if five percent.
Ejercito vowed that the Senate would look into the proposed DST reduction, saying that more than “P2 billion will be added to the UHC from PCSO alone.”
In effect, P2 billion can fund 769,230 hemodialysis sessions for indigent diabetic patients, considering that the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) coverage rate per session is P2,600.
The same amount was estimated to help 125,000 indigent patients with severe dengue, with PhilHealth covering P16,000 per case.
Cua said this was among the reasons why the PCSO was urging Congress to reduce the DST rate imposed on gross retail receipts.
The PCSO was likewise asking the House of Representatives to amend its Charter to rationalize its revenue allocations to further reduce the burden on the agency.
“Both initiatives, if approved by Congress, would result to an increase in the agency’s contribution to UHC that would ultimately benefit the public in terms of realizing an improved benefit packages being offered by the government through PhilHealth,” Cua said.
The PCSO has been among the fund sources for the implementation of the UHC law, with 40 percent of its “net Charity Fund” to be allocated to PhilHealth for the UHC this year.
In its presentation to the Senate, the PCSO projected P53.23 billion in total retail receipts for 2023.
However, it has to pay about P10.65 billion (20 percent of retail receipts) in DST.
Meanwhile, the PLCSO allocation is 30 percent of the total receipts, or P15.65 billion, which is used to pay the DST, mandatory contributions, and other expenses of the PCSO.
Thus, the projected net charity fund is only about P3.13 billion, 40 percent or P1.25 billion of which would go to the UHC.
According to the PCSO, if the DST was reduced to 10 percent, the projected net charity fund would go up to P8.45 billion.
At this rate, the resulting UHC share will then rise to P3,382,315,585.05, marking an increase of 169.9 percent, Cua said.
Reducing the DST rate further to 5 percent will increase the net charity fund to PHP11.1 billion, resulting in a P4.45 billion allocation to the UHC, or a 254.86 percent increase from the original computation at 20 percent DST.
From October 2019 to December 2022, the PCSO released P2.7 billion as its contribution to the UHC Act.
The PCSO serves as the principal government agency for raising and providing funds for health programs, medical assistance and services, and charities of national character through the conduct of sweepstakes horse races, lotteries, and similar activities.