MANILA, Philippines – The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Diseases urged medical supply exporters to sell at least 80% of their products locally, as personal protective equipment in hospitals run low due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“The DTI (Department of Trade and Industry) shall enjoin concerned export enterprises that manufacture medicines [and] medical supplies and equipment to supply at least 80% of their daily production for local or domestic use,” said the IATF in Resolution No. 15 on Wednesday, March 25.
The IATF also asked President Rodrigo Duterte to lift minimum export requirements imposed under various laws, so that more of the manufactured products may be used locally.
Local sales, added the task force, should be treated as export sales in the meantime, for firms to avail of exemptions and other incentives. (READ: Left in the dark: Little protection for government’s coronavirus frontliners)
If the proposal is approved, the DTI would be tasked to issue guidelines on the matter.
The task force is also allowing full manufacturing operations for medicines and medical supplies, devices, and equipment even during the “enhanced community quarantine” or lockdown.
The IATF guidelines came out after Duterte signed into law the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, which gives him the power to ensure there won’t be delays in distribution of health products, among 29 other powers.
The special power is valid for 3 months, unless extended by Congress.
As of Wednesday, the Philippines has 636 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, with 38 deaths and 26 recoveries.
Worldwide, over 19,000 people have died due to the disease while more than 404,000 people have been infected across 175 countries. – with reports from Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com