Local PPE makers ask for more gov’t support

MANILA – The Confederation of Wearable Exporters of the Philippines (CONWEP) and the Confederation of Philippine Manufacturers of PPE (CPMP) have appealed to the government to provide more support to local manufacturers of medical-grade personal protective equipment (PPE) through the Bayanihan 2.

“We would like to request the critical support of (the) government to provide a sustainable environment for this sub-sector to grow, an emerging sub-sector critical to meet the national need for medical-grade PPE during (a) health crisis,” CONWEP and CPMP said in a joint statement.

The local PPE makers, particularly those that repurposed their manufacturing facilities heeding the call of the government to domestically produced critical Covid-19-related products such as medical-grade N95, N88 masks, medical-grade seam-sealed coveralls, isolation gowns, and head and shoe covers, requested the lawmakers an exemption from payment of duties, taxes, fees, to include value-added tax (VAT) on local sales, for locally manufactured medical-grade PPE; and strict implementation of the government to qualify and impose Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and FDA-accredited third party laboratory testing on imported PPE.

They also called for the imposition of duties, taxes, and other fees, to include VAT on local sales on imported PPE; the retroactive application of capital equipment exemptions on import and duties, and exemption on VAT on local sales treated as exports to cover the period from the time Bayanihan 1 expired; and prioritizing Philippine-made medical-grade PPE in government procurement.

“We request our legislators to implement fiscal policy reforms that would allow the local PPE industry to grow and be sustainable. We need to level off the playing field from the influx of substandard PPE,” the groups said.

For CPMP alone, the group is producing over 57 million pieces of masks and three million pieces of coveralls and isolation gowns, which products passed the highest standard requirements.

Its repurposing initiatives saved 7,450 jobs during the pandemic and invested more than USD35 million for the past three months.

CPMP is composed of Medtecs International Corp. Ltd., EMS Components Assembly Inc., Reliance Producers Cooperative, Luen Thai International Group Philippines Inc., and Tacca Industries Pty Ltd from Australia.

CONWEP, on the other one, is the first group that locally produced medical-grade coveralls. Kris Crismundo /PNA – northboundasia.com