A top official of the House of Representatives is calling for the tax-free importation of all Covid19 vaccines to hasten the inoculation of 110 million Filipinos – and save lives.
Labay Representative Joey Salceda, chairman of the Ways and means committee, stressed the importance of doing away with all existing tax barriers for these vaccines as this is a “matter of life and death” which has priority over revenues.
Salceda said that removing all such tariffs imposed by the Bureau of Customs is “critical to fast-tracking mass vaccination” which is already being done in several countries.
Salceda’s proposal is now being widely welcomed by the business sector as well as local government units which have signified their intention to purchase their own vaccine requirements so that they won’t have to rely on the national government, because to do so would take up to a year and miles of red tape.
It should be recalled that a tri-partite agreement among the Philippine government, the private sector and pharmaceutical firms was reached for the procurement of 2 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine. Under this agreement, one-half will go to the government, while the other half will accrue to the private sector which would be footing the bill.
The 145-member League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP), it was learned, is in the process of drawing up its own strategy for vaccine procurement from abroad.
“We need to discuss plans for cities who afford to buy their own vaccines because the sooner we can administer these, the sooner we can return to normal,” Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Trenas told the Inquirer.
Apart from this, Trenas said the LCP can lessen the burden of the IATF in formulating its national vaccine procurement plan for the entire population.
Photo: Presidential Communications