THE FINANCE department has directed the revenue office to speed up the processing of tax exemptions for imported relief goods intended for areas devastated by typhoon Rai, locally named Odette.
Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III ordered the Bureau of Internal Revenue to work in shifts to process tax exemptions 24 hours a day so it could quickly release donated goods from foreign governments and international organizations.
Mr. Dominguez, in a Dec. 21 letter to President Rodrigo R. Duterte, said the department is ready to process applications to grant tax exemptions for these goods.
The Department of Finance (DoF), in a press release on Thursday, said it also plans to send guidelines on tax exemptions to the Office of the President and the public.
Mr. Duterte on Tuesday declared a state of calamity in six regions affected by the typhoon to speed up aid deliveries and relief efforts.
These are: Western Visayas, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan), Northern Mindanao and Caraga.
Government agencies that may apply for the tax exemptions include the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Health, and the Office of Civil Defense.
Local government units and government-accredited private and non-government organizations may also apply.
Relief goods that may be tax exempt include food, medicine, equipment and materials for shelter, and vehicles.
These goods must be donated or leased to government institutions and accredited private organizations either for free distribution to communities affected by the typhoon or for use during rescue operations in disaster-affected areas.
The DoF has launched an online registration process for tax exemption applications.
The Customs Modernization and Tariff Act or Republic Act No.10863 exempts from duties and taxes relief consignment goods imported during a state of calamity and intended for the areas and population affected by the calamity.
Earlier this week, the Customs bureau has also ordered ports nationwide to set up one-stop shops that will facilitate the speedy processing and release of goods intended for typhoon survivors.
“The OSS shall be available 24 hours and seven days a week (24/7). It shall be responsible for coordinating with other concerned government agencies in the processing of donated relief goods to facilitate its immediate release,” the bureau said in a statement on Wednesday.
The Foreign Affairs department has also organized a national OSS to handle all concerns relating to donations.
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexei B. Nograles, the President’s acting spokesperson, on Thursday thanked all sectors for initiatives to help in the emergency response.
“We again thank all generous allies in the international community, development partners, organizations, families, and individuals for the outpouring of support and compassion to our people,” said Mr. Nograles.
“We also assure our kababayans that your government continues to work double-time in its relief, recovery, and rehabilitation efforts to aid displaced families in hard-hit areas as they begin the process of rebuilding their lives in the aftermath of the most devastating typhoon to hit our country this year,” he added. — Jenina P. Ibañez with a report from Alyssa Nicole O. Tan