Lambanog producers seek gov’t support to convert products into disinfectants

Aileen Cerrudo   •   March 27, 2020   •   264

Lambanog producers in Tayabas City, Quezon Province are seeking government support to convert their products into rubbing alcohol, hand sanitizers, and disinfectants.

The industry is experiencing a huge drop in sales brought by the enhanced community quarantine due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) threat.

Distilled coconut wine producers are now thinking of ways on how to help with the depleting supply of disinfectants in the country.

Isabelita Capistrano, owner of the Capistrano Distillery, is calling out to concerned government agencies to coordinate with them to make sure that their process will fit health standards and would be legal.

Capistrano said they are willing to cooperate with whatever plan the government deems necessary with the industry.

“The DTI [Department of Trade and Industry], DOST [Department of Science and Technology, and the Department of Agriculture, kung iyan ay magtutulong-tulong, palagay ko ay anuman ang mapagplanuhan […] ay talagang makakaigi, (if they will help together, I think whatever they plan is, it would be for the better)” she said.

Quezon Province health officer Dr. Grace Santiago previously said the use of lambanog is a good alternative disinfectant to prevent spread of the coronavirus. AAC (with reports from Japhet Cablaida)

P5-M worth of overpriced PPE, alcohol seized in Binondo, Manila

Marje Pelayo   •   March 27, 2020

P5-M worth of overpriced PPE, alcohol seized in Binondo, Manila

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Customs (BOC) on Friday (March 28) announced the confiscation of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and alcohol worth P5-M in a store in San Nicolas, Binondo, Manila.

Information from a concerned citizen of Barangay 281-26 in the area prompted the raid launched by BOC in coordination with the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) assisted by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), Manila Police District (MPD) on March 26.

Initial investigation revealed that the store was selling overpriced essential medical items which include face masks, gloves, goggles, alcohols, thermal scanners, test tubes and syringes.

Specifically, the store’s online operation charge buyers almost four times the suggested retail price of the items.

The owners of the shop were not around during the raid. They have only 15 days to provide the authorities importation documents to prove that said items were legally procured.

Otherwise, the owners shall face charges for smuggling in violation of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA).

The operation was in line with the BOC’s commitment to border security and its relentless campaign to curb smuggling despite the health risk due to COVID-19 pandemic.

FDA allows pharmacies to produce alcohol-based hand sanitizers amid shortage

Aileen Cerrudo   •   March 26, 2020

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has allowed pharmacies to produce their own alcohol-based hand sanitizers to cope with the supply shortage.

According to the FDA, there has been an increase in the demand for alcohol-based products amid the increasing threat of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the country.

Based on FDA Circular No. 2020-11, licensed drug stores, hospital pharmacies, institutional pharmacies, and other stakeholders will be allowed to produce their own alcohol-based hand sanitizers for consumer and health care personnel use.

The FDA also provided several guidelines to ensure pharmacies will produce safe, effective, and acceptable quality alcohol-based products for public use.

Several of the guidelines include: the compounding should be done by a duly registered and licensed pharmacist. They would also have to follow strict hygiene and personal protective equipment requirements.

The location for the compounding, including all the equipment should also be properly sanitized and maintained.

“This Circular is hereby issued as an interim guideline for the pharmacy compounding of alcohol-based hand sanitizers in response to the need for increased production of these products in the Philippines,” the circular reads. AAC

Bicam approves proposed add’l taxes on cigarettes, salty foods, alcohol, vapor products

Maris Federez   •   December 18, 2019

MANILA, Philippines— The two chambers of Congress have agreed on the final version of the Sin Tax Law.

The Bicameral Conference Committee on Wednesday (Dec. 18) approved the bill that proposes an additional tax on cigarettes, salty foods, alcohol and vapor products.

The bill provides for the application of the additional tax on fermented products from Php 35 in 2020 to Php 43 by the year 2024, while distilled products will be imposed with P35 to 66 taxes, wines with added Php 50 tax, and heated tobacco with additional Php 25 in the coming year.

The bicam has also approved the provision that prevents selling to vape products to buyers who are 21 years old and below.

“Kung ikaw ay hindi pa 21, definitely hindi pwede, tatanungin ka pa, nagyoyosi ka ba, kapag hindi ka nagyoyosi hindi ka pwede,” said House Committee on Ways and Means chairman, Rep. Joey Salceda.

This measure seeks to collect Php 24.9-Million taxes, and such will be used in the implementation of the Universal Health Care Act.

“I think all the health advocates sana mas mataas pa as a revenue measure, I had also hope na mas mataas,” Senate Committee on Ways and Means chair Pia Cayetano added.

The approved bill also provided for a clearer rule on VAT exemptions on medicines for diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol.

And by 2023, medicines for mental health, cancer, and tuberculosis will also be VAT-exempt. — (from the report of Nel Maribojoc) /mbmf

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