House panel approves bill raising excise taxes on alcohol

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 13, 2019   •   586

The House Committee on Ways and Means approved on Tuesday (Aug 13) the proposed House Bill No. 1026 which aims to raise excise taxes on alcohol.

The committee used House Rule 10 section 48 of the chamber which states, “in case of bills or resolutions that are identified as priority measures of the House, which were previously filed in the immediately preceding Congress and have already been approved on 3rd reading, the same may be disposed of as matters already reported upon the approval of majority of the Members of the committee present, there being a quorum.”

According to Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Salceda, who filed the said bill, the collected taxes will be used to fund the Universal Health Care Program of the government.

He also raised concerns about the health risk of drinking alcohol.

“[This is] to prevent first time drinking [because] deaths caused by alcohol is four times higher than deaths caused by tobacco from aged 20-30,” he said.

There are 43 congressmen who voted in favor of House Bill No. 1026. The bill proposes an increase that ranges from 14-22 percent excise taxes on alcohol depending on the kind of liquor.

The committee assured to give congressmen the opportunity to review the said bill during the deliberation in the plenary.—AAC (with reports from Grace Casin)

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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