Manufacturers urged to re-purpose products to help fight pandemic

Local manufacturers are encouraged to re-purpose their products to help the country in the fight against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

“We can help you strengthen your capabilities, navigating you through as you re-purpose your product lines, focusing on your strengths in product development, logistics, production systems, and your skilled workforce,” the Board of Investments (BOI) said.

It said re-purposing of manufacturing capabilities towards the production of products to combat Covid-19 involves using alcoholic liquor to create alcohol disinfectants, turning ready-to-wear garments into office uniforms to personal protective equipment (PPE), and even making medical gloves from rubber balloons.

The country now produces 60 million face masks per month, 3.2 million pieces of medical grade coveralls, 6,050 pieces of ventilators, and 60,000 pieces of infrared thermometers per month.

The BOI recently proposed in its 2020 Investment Priorities Plan (IPP) the addition of pandemic-mitigating activities, such as the manufacture of Covid-19 essential goods, to eligibility for investment incentives including income tax holidays and exemption from tax and duty on imports of capital equipment. This is with President Rodrigo Duterte for his approval.

The BOI is also working on the passage of the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act (CREATE) bill which will provide tax breaks for struggling businesses, including manufacturers.

Meanwhile, the BOI said tax incentives are available for local manufacturers producing Covid-19 products wishing to donate PPE to national government, hospitals or community organizations.

Businesses PPE donations to their workers, and those intended for company use only, do not require clearance from the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) to pass through customs.

A BOI specialist will guide businesses in their shift to PPE production, or donate PPE to national government, hospitals or community organizations.

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