BOC implements tax-free importation of PPEs, medical emergency supplies
MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has issued the guidelines for the tax and duty-free importation of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other medical emergency supplies as provided under Republic Act No. 11469 or the Bayanihan To Heal As One Act.
The BOC issued Customs Administrative Order (CAO) 07-2020 that will serve as the guidelines for the implementation of Section 4(O) of RA 11469 on the tax and duty-exempt importation of the items to help stem the coronavirus outbreak in the country.
“The aim of this CAO is to expedite customs clearance of tax and duty-exempt importations of PPEs and medical goods which are urgently needed by the country’s citizens, frontliners, and medical supplies manufacturers in this public health emergency we are currently facing,” the BOC said in a statement on Wednesday, April 1.
Following the BOC order, the Bureau of Internal Revenue issued Revenue Memorandum Order 10-2020 which no longer requires an Authority to Release Imported Goods (ATRIG) for the importation of PPEs and medical emergency supplies.
The BOC outlined the following main points of CAO 07-2020:
- Commercial importers of PPE and medical equipment are exempted from presenting the Certificate of Product Notification (CPN) or Certificate of Product Registration (CPR) issued by the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) prior to release from the BOC, provided that they present a copy of their License to Operate (LTO) and proof of application for product notification with the FDA.
- Those importing ventilators, respirators, and their respective accessories for commercial purposes only need to present a copy of their LTO.
- Imported health products for donation which are certified by regulatory agencies or accredited third party organizations in the originating countries shall be automatically cleared.
- FDA clearance will not be required prior to release of foreign donations of PPEs, ventilators, respirators and their respective accessories which will be used in treating COVID-19 patients.
- Imported goods under Section 4(O) of RA 11469 which are released under Provisional Goods Declaration are subject to the submission of Tax Exemption Indorsement (TEI) issued by the Department of Finance-Revenue Office (DOF-RO) after April 12, 2020, or upon lifting of the declaration of the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon, whichever comes earlier.
The speedier importation process is expected to help ease the shortage of PPEs and other medical emergency supplies in the country's hospitals, as coronavirus cases continued to spike. (IN NUMBERS: What hospitals need to treat COVID-19 patients)
The lack of protective gear have prompted many frontliners to improvise, using readily available materials.
As of Tuesday, March 13, the Philippines has 2,084 coronavirus cases, with 88 deaths and 49 recoveries. – Rappler.com