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Senator Zubiri Assures Co-op Leaders

PASAY CITY – Senate Cooperative Committee Chairperson Miguel Zubiri assured Mindanao co-operators he would make sure that co-op tax exemptions would not be included in the TRAIN Bill’s list of tax exemptions to be repealed.

Led by COOP-NATCCO Representative Ben Canama, around 50 co-op leaders from Mindanao and the National Capital Region went to the Senate on July 25 to meet with House Ways & Means Committee Chairman, Senator Sonny Angara to seek assurance that the co-ops will not be taxed under the proposed TRAIN Bill.

TRAIN stands for the Tax Reform for Acceleration & Inclusion Bill, which was drafted by the Department of Finance, and promises added tax collections for government and less tax for certain sectors.  The bill has earmarked 87 tax exemptions in the Philippines to be scrapped or repealed.  Among them are the tax exemptions enjoyed by cooperatives as stipulated in Articles 60 & 61 of the New Cooperative Code of 2008.

While the co-op leaders were waiting for Angara, who was still in the Session Hall, Senator Zubiri dropped by, shook hands and spoke with the leaders.  

Upon realizing that most of the leaders present were from Mindanao, he spoke in Cebuano to the delight of everyone.
He said (in Cebuano, English and Tagalog):  “Wala akong problema  to pass (the TRAIN Bill) in toto, as approved and passed by the House of Representatives.  Cooperatives will continue to be protected!” (I have no problems if they pass the TRAIN Bill as it is, as approved and passed by the House of Representatives.)

The statement met applause.

Refering to the insistence by the Dept. of Finance to re-insert the co-op tax exemptions in the list of exemptions to be repealed, he said:  “Kung isisingit nila (ang co-operatiba sa TRAIN Bill), guerra na!” (If they re-insert the co-ops in the TRAIN Bill, it’s going to be war!”)

He added: “Not to worry.  Kami ni Cong. Ben (Canama), sa Committee-level sa Senate, dito natin bantayan.  Sa committee-level, wala tayo problema.” (Congressman Ben and I will watch discussions at the committee-level in the Senate.  Here is where we will be vigilant.)

“But as far as I can tell you now . . . and I guarantee this . . . co-ops will not be taxed!”

Again, this resulted in more cheers and applause from the co-op leaders.


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