Philippines eyes deal with Russia on tax data capture

Robie de Guzman   •   February 4, 2021   •   380

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines and Russia are exploring possible cooperation that could further improve the country’s tax administration and compliance, the Department of Finance (DOF) said.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the DOF said officials from the country’s Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and Russia’s Federal Tax Service (FTS) met to discuss the latter’s best practices that could be applied in the Philippines’ revenue agencies.

During an online meeting with FTS deputy commissioner Dmitry Volvach last January 13, both countries explored a possible bilateral agreement between the revenue agencies of the two nations.

In a report to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez during a recent executive committee (Execom) meeting, BIR Deputy Commissioner Arnel Guballa commended Russia’s tax administration system, which, he said, uses artificial intelligence and data analytics to capture taxpayers’ information.

“We had an initial meeting with the Federal Tax Service of Russia, represented by their Deputy Commissioner Dmitry Volvach. They have good tax administration. They started their digitalization in 2016 and, after 5 years, they are now into capturing almost all the data of taxpayers,” said Guballa in his report.

Guballa said they learned from the FTS that it now audits only 1 out of 7,000 taxpayers as a result of Russia’s well-placed and efficient system that encourages people to comply with tax laws.

Last January 15, the BIR launched its Internal Revenue Integrated System (IRIS), which will serve as the agency’s central tool and repository to process taxpayers’ information.

It is expected to be rolled out nationwide in the fourth quarter of 2021, according to Guballa.

The IRIS launching forms part of the deliverables this year under the BIR’s long-term Digital Transformation Program, he added.

Bulk of COVID-19 vaccine deliveries expected to arrive in PH starting June — Galvez

Robie de Guzman   •   April 20, 2021

 

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government expects to receive the bulk of COVID-19 vaccine deliveries from June to August, which could speed up the country’s mass vaccination drive, vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said.

In his report to President Rodrigo Duterte during a meeting in Malacañang on Monday, Galvez said they are expecting around 10 to 15 million vaccine doses by August.

Galvez also reported that he has secured five contracts with different drug makers and that the financing schemes are currently being ironed out.

These firms include Sinovac, AstraZeneca, Moderna, Novavax, and Gamaleya Institute, he said, adding that Johnson & Johnson already received an emergency use authorization (EUA) for its Janssen COVID-19 vaccine from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

“‘Yong Sinovac, ito ang pinaka-steady supply natin at saka po ‘yong Gamaleya. Pagka nagkaroon na tayo ng initial delivery, magiging steady na,” he said, adding he expects Moderna and AstraZeneca to also make their vaccine deliveries soon.

For this quarter, the government is eyeing to receive two million doses of COVID-19 jabs. Around 500,000 vaccine doses of these will come from Sinovac, 20,000 doses from Gamaleya and 195,000 doses from Pfizer through the COVAX facility.

Philippine Ambassador to Russia Carlos Sorreta said at least 20,000 doses of Gamaleya Institute’s Sputnik V vaccine will be delivered in the next few days.

According to Galvez, the Sputnik V vaccine doses will be a mini rollout as the Russian pharmaceutical company conducts testing in the Philippines.

Galvez also reported that once the bilateral agreements are completed, Pfizer could make an early delivery of 2.4 million doses in the second quarter.

“And then sa May mayroon tayong ini-expect na four million; two million po sa Sinovac. Ito nabayaran na po ‘to natin, mahal na President, ‘yong 3.5 million na 1.5 million sa April at saka two million sa May,” he told the Duterte.

The vaccine czar also disclosed that the Philippine government expects to sign a contract with Gamaleya on Tuesday after ordering around one to two million doses from the Russian drug manufacturer.

Galvez added that he is also looking at getting 194,000 doses from Moderna.

The Philippines has so far vaccinated over one million Filipinos against COVID-19.

Some 965,960 healthcare workers have received the first doses of the jab. There are 132,948 senior citizens and 180,315 persons with co-morbidities who also received the shot.

20K Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine doses to arrive in PH ‘in next few days’ – envoy

Robie de Guzman   •   April 20, 2021

 

MANILA, Philippines – Around 20,000 doses of Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine developed by Russia’s Gamaleya Institute are expected to be delivered within the next few days, the Philippine ambassador to Russia announced Tuesday.

“My understanding is that we have complied with their requirement because they would not deliver unless they are satisfied with our logistics,” Ambassador Carlos Sorreta said during a Palace briefing.

Sorreta said the initial batch of Sputnik V vaccine doses would be used to “fine-tune” logistics to ensure that the vaccines’ temperature requirement will be met.

Sputnik V vaccine needs to be stored at a temperature of -18 degrees Celsius.

Sorreta also reported that an additional shipment of nearly 500,000 doses will arrive in the Philippines before end of April or early May.

“Over the next few months, we’re going seven figures, about 20 million doses before the end of the year,” he said.

“I think there will be delivery as scheduled based on the agreement signed by (vaccine czar) Secretary (Carlito) Galvez,” he added.

Galvez earlier said that the government is expecting to receive 20 million doses of Sputnik V this year.

Sorreta said the delivery of Sputnik V vaccines to the Philippines took a while due to some issues that needed to be addressed.

“We are happy about this development, although it took a while. It was unavoidable. The FDA, ginagawa nila ang kanilang trabaho ngunit merong konting differences sa terminologies, sa technologies so that those have been overcome,” he said.

He also expressed optimism that the Philippines will get the vaccine supply that the government requires to meet its target inoculation despite the global supply shortage.

“We have to be cognizant of the realities, the demand is very high for the vaccine and the best we can do it to try to lock in the supplies,” he said.

“Of course, we have to manage expectations. There could be problems in production. Many things can come up,” he added.

The country has so far received over 3 million COVID-19 vaccine doses made by Sinovac and AstraZeneca firms. More than 1.4 million of these doses have been administered to healthcare workers, senior citizens and persons with co-morbidities.

The government rolled out its COVID-19 vaccination program on March 1 and is targeting to inoculate 70 million people this year.

PH posts 7,379 new COVID-19 cases; 21,664 recoveries

Robie de Guzman   •   April 20, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines’ tally of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) reached 953,106 on Tuesday after the Department of Health (DOH) reported 7,379 additional infections.

In its bulletin, the DOH said the latest figure pushed the country’s total active cases to 127,006.

The agency noted however, that the tally does not include data from eight laboratories that failed to submit their reports on time.

Ngayong 4 PM, Abril 20, 2021, ang Department of Health ay nakapagtala ng 7,379 na karagdagang kaso ng COVID-19….

Posted by Department of Health (Philippines) on Tuesday, April 20, 2021

The total recoveries rose to 809,959 after 21,664 more patients recuperated from the viral respiratory disease.

The death rose increased to 16,141 with 93 new fatalities.

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