Action for Economic Reforms (AER) has appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte and Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III to create the enabling rules that will immediately make available the essential supplies for the frontline health troops so they can amply be equipped in the war against COVID-19.

“In particular, AER is concerned over the thinning supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) and ventilators. Without these supplies, the health system will collapse, and the frontline health workers will be decimated,” said AER’s president Jessica Reyes-Cantos.

The specific recommendation of AER is for authorities to liberalize entry of PPE and ventilators, including the waiving of taxes.

“In times of national emergency, and in fact we are fighting a war, government must ensure the supply of essential items. The free entry of the essential supplies to fight the war is an imperative. Countries all over the world are ordering the same things we direly need. To obtain the share that we need, we must adapt and change the rules to enable quick and easy importation,” explained AER coordinator Filomeno Sta. Ana III.

AER maintained that is not worried over foregone revenues arising from waiving duties or taxes for the essential items, because the benefits are a million times more in terms of equipping the health forces, strengthening the health system and saving lives.

At the same time, AER is calling on the private sector and the universities to develop and produce basic ventilating systems, with incentives likewise to be given to the producers.

“The health crisis we are currently facing is an opportunity for all Filipinos to form a united front. It is now essential that government, the private sector, and civil society take collective action in order to defeat this COVID-19 pandemic,” Cantos said.