By Jeffrey Damicog
The government has been urged to reduce taxes imposed on imported personal protective equipment (PPE) badly needed by frontliners in the fight against the deadly 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
“At this time, government should open the floodgates to importation,” lawyer Lorenzo “Larry” Gadon said on Friday, March 27.
On the other hand, Gadon clarified that the measure is only temporary while the country is facing a health emergency because of COVID-19.
“Aanhin mo yung bayad nga ng customs tax kung libo libo naman mamatay (What will you do with tax customs if thousands will die),” he pointed out.
Considering the national government will be spending billions in the fight against COVID-19, the lawyer noted that it will not miss out on the estimated less than P150 million in customs taxes from PPEs.
Gadon also criticized the Bureau of Customs (BOC) for the red tape in the long processing of imported PPEs.
“Sila may kasalanan bakit walang face mask at PPEs! (They should be blamed why there are no face masks and PPEs),” he said.
Aside from the customs issue, he lamented that importers who have cleared customs are also “wary of selling openly because of the raids and accusations of hoarding.”
With this, the lawyer also asked the government to let importers and sellers set the price of PPEs.
“The whole world is buying face masks and PPEs hindi lang Pilpinas (not only the Philippines. We are competing for supplies with other countries!” reminded Gadon.
He believes that prices of PPEs in the Philippine market will go down once it has been flooded with supplies and importers and sellers try to offer consumers the best prices.