Senate eyes sin tax higher than House version

Maris Federez   •   November 13, 2019   •   369

MANILA, Philippines – The Senate Committee on Ways and Means on Monday said that they are targeting to pass a bill that will press for sin taxes which are much higher than that of the House version.

This after President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday (November 12) certified Senate Bill 1074 that seeks to impose higher taxes on alcohol and e-cigarettes including heated tobacco products and vapes.

The higher sin tax aims to support the implementation of the Universal Health Care Act.

Committee chairperson, Sen. Pia Cayetano, said the higher sin tax will ensure that there will be sufficient funds for health services for all Filipinos and lesser consumption of the said sin products.

“I am pushing for a version that recommends higher tax rates than those approved by the House of Representatives for two reasons: first, it will provide proper funding for the delivery of health services to all Filipinos; and second, it will effectively reduce the consumption of sin products,” Cayetano said

In the House version, an estimated P47.9-billion tax will be collected and be allocated to the Universal Health Care program.

A total of P356.9-billion will be allotted for the program in the next five years. (with details from Nel Maribojoc) /mbmf

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.

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

Aileen Cerrudo   •   March 27, 2020

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)

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

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