The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), in partnership with SM Malls conduct nationwide jobs fair in celebration of Labor Day (May 1). Over 310,000 jobs are offered to qualified applicants. Photo shows applicants line up at Mall Event Center of SM Manila. (MNS photo)

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), in partnership with SM Malls conduct nationwide jobs fair in celebration of Labor Day (May 1). Over 310,000 jobs are offered to qualified applicants. Photo shows applicants line up at Mall Event Center of SM Manila. (MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) – A lawmaker is seeking to provide employers of ex-convicts with incentive by way of tax credit amounting to PHP 3,000 or two percent of the basic salary of the worker to encourage companies or individuals to hire past offenders.

Rep. Isagani S. Amatong (3rd District, Zamboanga del Norte) said his proposal intends to help former offenders to move from economic dependency to self-earning and contributing taxpayers, while participating employers are able to reduce their income tax liability.

Since former convicts consistently face employment discrimination, he said the State must create the mechanism, which will successfully reintegrate former offenders to the society.

“The past criminal record of a potential employee tends to affect his or her chance to be hired due to the social stigma created by the past wrongdoings. Although the State may not penalize companies for ‘discriminating’ due to company policies, it may give incentives to companies who are bold enough to give these individuals a second chance in life,” said Amatong.

To enable ex-convicts to start anew and truly live a reformed and productive life, a national policy which will promote acceptance and non-discrimination should be put in place according to Amatong, a vice chairman of the House Committee on Mindanao Affairs.

Amatong filed House Bill 4790 or the proposed “Ex-Convict Reintegration Law of 2014” which provides that the State must help ex-convicts restore their dignity by creating an “incentive” system for companies and individuals who would give them the second chance.

In doing so, the bill provides the different sectors may learn to look at the past offenders with sense of compassion and acceptance. It further states that by giving former convicts better chance of employment, the State is bound to benefit from the contribution of these future taxpayers.

The proposal is in line with the constitutional provision that “The Congress shall give highest priority to the enactment of measures that protect and enhance the right of all people to human dignity, reduce social, economic and political inequalities, and remove cultural inequities by equitably diffusing wealth and political power for the common good.”

The bill, now pending at the Committee on Ways and Means chaired by Rep. Romero Quimbo (2nd District, Marikina City), provides that any company or individual who has hired an ex-convict within five years from the service of sentence shall be entitled to avail of tax credit. The tax credit shall be collected immediately on the next tax period.

The proposal covers all types of past offenders who have successfully served their sentence by reason of full service, parole, pardon or probation.

The tax credit shall amount to P 3,000 or two percent of the basic salary of the ex-convict-employee, whichever is higher upon the completion of the 12-month period of employment. The company or individual shall be entitled to a tax credit for the first 24 months of employment of the ex-convict, the bill provides. (MNS)