House panel OKs bill exempting medical oxygen, other critical supplies from taxes
MANILA, Philippines — The House committee on ways and means approved Monday the proposed substitute provisions to the bill seeking to exempt critical medical supplies such as medical oxygen from taxes.
Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, who chairs the committee, said the panel inserted the substitute provisions in House Bill No. 8895 which was already approved earlier by the committee and is now pending at the House plenary “to expedite the process,” citing urgency.
“We introduced the provisions to a bill already approved by the committee, and principally authored by Rep, Ruffy Biazon. We worked on this over the weekend so we could approve it today,” Salceda said in a statement.
“House Bill No. 8895 was actually already approved by the committee, so we inserted the provisions that would have fit the President’s request, so that we could expedite the process,” he added.
The bill exempts the manufacture, importation, sale, and donation of critical medical supplies and essential goods during public health emergencies.
Essential goods refer to personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves, gowns, masks, goggles, and face shields; surgical equipment and supplies; laboratory equipment and its reagents; medical equipment and devices; support and maintenance for laboratory and medical equipment, and surgical equipment and supplies.
It also includes medical supplies, tools, and consumables such as alcohols, sanitizers, tissue papers, thermometers, hand soaps, detergents, sodium hypochlorite, cleaning materials, povidone iodine; testing kits, and such other supplies or equipment as may be determined by the Department of Health (DOH) and other relevant government agencies.
“I can see this getting to the floor during this session opening. We already emphasized to the Committee on Rules that this is a Presidential request, not to mention an urgent COVID-19 response,” Salceda said.
Duterte earlier said he is considering talking with Congress about giving tax relief to manufacturers of medical oxygen which he called a “vital component” in the country’s fight against COVID-19
Earlier, a World Health Organization official urged the Philippines to ramp up its oxygen supplies amid the threat of the Delta variant.
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