Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. has called on the Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) to promote the social justice principle of cooperatives.
Sen. Bongbong, vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Cooperatives, made the remark in a speech he delivered during the cooperative forum of the Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants (PICPA) with the theme: “Energizing the Cooperative Sector: Opportunities and Challenges” held on July 18 at the Hotel Intercontinental Manila, Makati City.
Sen. Bongbong said that social justice, which is the end-all and be-all of all underlying principles of cooperatives, is mandated no less by the Constitution. The other principles of cooperatives, which set them apart from other business organizations are self-reliance and self-help, openness, voluntarism and personal and democratic control, and concern for the community or social responsibility. The Senator said the social justice aspect of the government recognition of cooperatives lies in this single most important legal consequence under the law, which is the grant of tax incentives and other favorable terms and conditions.
“I submit that this is the one area where our Filipino CPAs can make use of and apply their skill and expertise to help give full effect and realization to the intention of the law and of our Constitution and in response to the desperate yearning of our fellow citizens who are actively engaged in the cooperative sector,” he said.
Under the Cooperative Act, registered cooperatives that transact and deal exclusively with their own members are not subject to any taxes and fees imposed under the internal revenue laws and other tax laws.
Also, registered cooperatives that transact or deal with non-members or to the general public are granted limited tax exemption and other privileges, the extent of which is determined whether or not their accumulated reserves and undivided net savings go beyond P10,000,000.00.
For cooperatives to be able to avail of the tax exemptions under the law, they must first be issued a Certificate of Tax Exemption (CTE) by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR). But they must first secure a Certificate of Good Standing (CGS) from the Cooperative (CDA).
“Pero, sorry na lang…ang paningin ko, at ng mga nasa cooperative sector, hindi maganda ang sitwasyon ngayon sa pagtrato sa sektor ng kooperatiba dito sa ating lipunan,” Sen. Bongbong said.
There are about 23,600 cooperatives registered now with the CDA, 91% of which are from the micro, small and medium categories, and just 9% are large cooperatives. The Senator noted that only 11,600 were given CGS by the CDA and only 6,295 were given CTE by the BIR.
“Mababa na nga ang bilang ng mga registered cooperatives, mas mababa pa lalo ang nabigyan ng Certificate of Good Standing ng CDA. Tapos, lalo pang mas kakaunti ang mga nabigyan ng BIR ng CTE. It appears that our registered cooperatives get significantly reduced by 50% at every important milestone in their quest for tax-exempt status,” he said.
He added this is not a good sign as far as the adherence to the social justice principle of cooperatives is concerned.
“So I exhort everyone here to effectively use your proven expertise in resolving this, and, in the process, ultimately help promote the growth of the cooperative movement in our country,” Sen. Bongbong told the CPAs.
He said CPAs can very well do this because since the dawn of modern-day financial transactions, the CPA has been recognized as an indispensable partner of government.