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Importation of PPEs, med supplies tax-exempt

Mary Grace Padin - The Philippine Star
Importation of PPEs, med supplies tax-exempt
In a phone interview, Customs Assistant Commissioner Vincent Philip Maronilla said the tax exemption provision under the Bayanihan Law is already in place, pending the issuance of a Customs Administrative Order.
The STAR / Michael Varcas / File

MANILA, Philippines — The importation of personal protective equipment (PPE), medical supplies and other essential equipment is now exempt from taxes and duties following the passage of Republic Act 11469 or the Bayanihan To Heal As One Act, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) said yesterday.

In a phone interview, Customs Assistant Commissioner Vincent Philip Maronilla said the tax exemption provision under the Bayanihan Law is already in place, pending the issuance of a Customs Administrative Order (CAO).

Maronilla said the CAO, which will lay out the implementing rules and regulations for the tax-free importation of PPEs and medical supplies, is already up for signing by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez.

 “The BOC is implementing it provisionally. Meaning, importers, as long as they bring in those enumerated under Section 4(o) of the Bayanihan Law, can avail of the tax exemption,” Maronilla told The STAR. “The law is already self-executing.”

Maronilla said the BOC can release shipments of PPEs and other medical equipment without the need to pay for taxes and duties as long as importers commit to submit later the requirements to be determined under the CAO, if there is any.

“We will release (the shipments) already. And then if there are other requirements under the guidelines we will issue, they can comply with those later,” he said.

Under Section 4(o) of the Bayanihan To Health As One Act, the President was given the authority to “liberalize the grant of incentives for the manufacture or importation of critical or needed equipment or supplies” to help contain the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 or COVID-19.

Earlier, the BOC said it would expedite the release of medical health devices, PPEs and medical supplies in view of the declaration of a national health emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It has also put in place the Philippine International Humanitarian Assistance Reception Center One-Stop Shop (PIHARC-OSS), which will serve as the facilitator for the importation of testing kits, medical supplies, and other equipment essential to the fight against the disease.

PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT
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