By Myrna M. Velasco – July 30, 2017, 10:01 PM
from Manila Bulletin
Through a legislative measure, the National Electrification Administration (NEA) is advancing tax exemption bid for the country’s 121 electric cooperatives (ECs) that are extending services to consumers in rural and far-flung areas.
According to NEA Administrator Edgardo Masongsong, this measure could be concretized via the proposed Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act that is currently pending for deliberations in Congress.
This proposed legislative policy, he explained, could “even things out with the ECs registered under the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA),” emphasizing that these entities enjoy such privilege based on the provisions of Republic Act 7160 or the Local Government Code of 1991.
As an initial step, Masongsong indicated that they are now working with co-advocates in both the legislative and executive branches of government for the policy proposal to move into fruition.
At the executive level, the NEA chief emphasized that they are trying to secure a legal opinion from the Department of Justice (DOJ), primarily with a tenor that “the same law could be applied to power coops under the NEA management.”
Masongsong is at least hoping that they could get a “favorable opinion” that shall then declare NEA-supervised electric coops be similarly bestowed “tax-exempt” treatment.
On the sphere of legislation, he emphasized that discussions have been ongoing with the Committees of Energy of both Houses; and such go along with the backing of the Departments of Energy and Finance.
Masongsong asserted that while the NEA Charter provides for “preferential rights” that must be extended to the ECs, his inclination is for this to be done by giving them tax exemptions.
As a matter of priority, NEA sets the grant of incentives in favor of ECs that are managed effectively and efficiently and comply consistently with its mandates and directives.
NEA has been pushing boundaries for the country’s ECs to improve their technical and financial performances so they could extend better services to Filipino consumers.