House panel approves tax-free hazard pay for judges and prosecutors

A House panel has approved a substitute bill that seeks to grant tax-free hazard pay to prosecutors and judges of regional, metropolitan, and municipal trial courts. The unnumbered bill, which is a consolidation of various bills aiming to increase the benefits of prosecutors and judges by removing taxes from their hazard pay, was passed by the House committee on ways and means chaired by Albay Rep. Joey Salceda.

According to Section 5 of the measure, hazard pay would not be subject to tax, and the bill ensures that no benefits granted to public prosecutors under existing laws, rules, regulations, local ordinances, and other issuances would be diminished.

Speaker Martin Romualdez highlighted the importance of public prosecutors in the administration of criminal justice, noting that they play a crucial role in the preliminary investigation and prosecution of criminal cases. He emphasized that prosecutors often face hazardous situations, such as threats to their lives or even death while carrying out their duties.

Chairman Salceda emphasized the need for differentiation based on risk when it comes to hazard pay, stating that some prosecutors are exposed to more risks than others. He emphasized the importance of considering the philosophical aspects of taxation in determining benefits for prosecutors and judges.

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