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Tatak Pinoy registration, medical aid applications targeted for streamlining

THE Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) said it is proposing “green lanes” for registering Tatak Pinoy projects as well as the streamlining of the application process for medical and financial assistance at government hospitals.

ARTA Director General Ernesto V. Perez said the green lanes will be implemented via the joint memorandum circular (JMC) adopted for expediting the establishment of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine manufacturing facilities.

“We’re trying to see if we can apply this JMC to other sector initiatives. And this initiative may be utilized in the institutionalization of green lanes for Tatak Pinoy projects and exports,” he said.

He also added that the JMC could be adopted to attract investors and manufacturers of drugs and medical devices, specifically by easing the import and export rules.

JMC No. 1 Series of 2021 established green lanes, which expedited and streamlined the process of issuing permits for COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing facilities.

Philippine Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association President Higinio P. Porte, Jr., said Tatak Pinoy will benefit Philippine-made drug products.

“This is what we are pushing to the pharmaceutical industry; however, we do not have a competitive advantage in the manufacture of generic or synthetic drug products,” Mr. Porte said.

“Our competitive advantage is in herbal drug products. Pascual Laboratories, Inc., for instance, is among the top manufacturers for Lagundi and Sambong drug products,” he added.

He said manufacturers can register herbal products backed by clinical studies through Tatak Pinoy as they are innovative and can be exported.

“Under Tatak Pinoy, we can benefit from the government by being tax-free for several years. And when we build a facility, machinery imports will have zero tariffs,” he added.

Signed into law in February, Tatak Pinoy (“Filipino brand”) seeks to improve the export competitiveness of Philippine companies by incubating and incentivizing products that carry the ‘made in the Philippines’ trademark.

“Another recent initiative of ARTA in the health sector is the streamlining and harmonization of the provision of medical and financial assistance in government hospitals,” he said.

“We aim to streamline the requirements, the process, and the turnaround time in processing applications for medical and financial assistance in all government hospitals nationwide,” he added.

Aside from these initiatives, ARTA is also proposing the issuance of a joint administrative order (JAO) that will resolve the jurisdiction overlap between the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Bureau of Animal and Industry (BAI).

According to Mr. Perez, previous issuances by both the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health affected importers whose shipments have been held up by the Bureau of Customs in the absence of an FDA clearance, despite being cleared by BAI.

“A JAO will be finalized to delineate their regulatory functions, thereby resolving the jurisdictional overlap issues,” he added. — Justine Irish D. Tabile