The House of Representatives has approved measures to encourage social responsibility in the private corporate sector by providing them with fiscal incentives when they participate in corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects and programs in communities.
With a vote of 283 to three and zero abstentions, lawmakers approved the third and final House Bill 451 last Monday, or the Corporate Social Responsibility Act, which is an amalgamation of six similar measures filed by multiple lawmakers.
“This measure recognizes the important role of the private sector not only in nation building, but also in developing and helping our communities improve the quality of life for our citizens. With the vast resources available to our corporations, they can help our country,” said Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez.
According to HB 451, the State recognizes the vital role of the private sector in nation building and must “encourage its active participation in promoting sustainable economic development and environmental protection in the Philippines.”
“To this end, the government should mobilize its various agencies in coordination with non-governmental and civil society organizations to work together to integrate, promote and strengthen corporate social responsibility in all business organizations,” the document says. .
The main goal of the bill is to promote sustainable economic development and environmental protection by encouraging corporations to embed the value of social responsibility in community development into the activities and activities of their organizations, whether individual enterprises, partnerships or corporations.
First, among the benefits provided by a corporate CSR measure is that it allows public corporations to retain profits in excess of 100% of paid-in capital stock for use in expansion projects or programs or corporate social responsibility.
HB 451 also defines CSR as “the commitment of businesses to contribute, on a voluntary basis, to sustainable economic development by working with relevant stakeholders to improve their lives in a way that is good for business, the sustainability agenda, and society as a whole” .
HB 451 also authorizes the Department of Trade and Industry to recognize and reward all business organizations for outstanding, innovative and first class services, projects and programs related to CSR.
“It will also support and encourage domestic and foreign corporations doing business in the Philippines that are candidates for recognition in international bodies that award awards for their CSR-related activities,” the statement said.
In addition, it states that local governments should “provide any necessary assistance” to business organizations to carry out their CSR programs and projects in their respective communities and “should encourage business organizations within their territorial jurisdiction to implement CSR projects / activities “.
In addition, all existing laws and regulations are being amended to prohibit local governments in the event of a disaster or national emergency from requesting or accepting donations of products and services for CSR-related activities to provide disaster relief and help a business organization. .
“All business organizations are allowed to donate products and services as part of their CSR-related activities for disaster relief and relief in accordance with regulations to be issued by the relevant government authority,” the bill says.
KABATAAN Rep. Raul Danniel A. Manuel voted against House Bill 451 because the bill could allow corporations to use CSR activities and activities as a means to improve their public image while continuing to exploit workers in the Philippines.
“This means that corporations can continue to underpay workers and create poor working conditions for them, using CSR as a cover for their unethical activities,” he said.
“Eat [also] the lack of a clear regulatory framework in the draft law that can prevent the use of CSR for corrupt practices and tax loopholes. This could lead corporations to use CSR as a means of tax avoidance and patronizing,” he added.
Manuel said that “we need corporations to be held accountable for the damage they cause to our people and the environment.”
“This includes paying workers a living wage, providing appropriate benefits, and ensuring safe and healthy working conditions. It also means holding corporations accountable for the pollution, emissions and waste caused by their production. We must not give corporations the impression that CSR is a substitute for their responsibilities to their employees and the environment, which is unacceptable,” he added.
Image credits: Olivier Le Moal | dreamtime.com