IATF set to issue guidelines on release of seized medical supplies

Published April 22, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Jeffrey Damicog

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) is set to issue a circular that will set the guidelines for the release of medical supplies seized by law enforcement during operations against hoarders and profiteers, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said on Wednesday.

DOJ Undersecretary Markk Perete said this will ensure that these medical supplies will immediately be used amid the threat of the deadly coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

“It provides the basis for inter-agency coordination and sets out the procedure for the transfer of custody of the goods,” said Perete.

He added that the circular is based on the provisions of the Price Act and the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.

“It also reiterates the requirement under both laws for the inventory of the goods to be transferred, seized, forfeited, and disposed of,” Perete said.

“Once the goods are forfeited or disposed to the government, these will be distributed to hospitals after confirmation with the FDA (Food and Drugs Administration) that the goods are safe to use,” he added.

Perete said that under the laws “the confiscated goods should have been used as evidence in the prosecution of the offense.”

Citing the Price Act and the Customs law, the DOJ spokesman said that the procedures require that “the confiscated goods be turned over to the DTI (Department of Trade and Industry) or BOC (Bureau of Customs), depending on the basis for confiscation/offense of the party/ies.”

After which, Perete said the DTI and BOC will conduct seizure proceedings and “the goods are either forfeited in favor of the government, or disposed of according to the Price Act or Customs Law” and, in case of disposition, “the government is given preference.”

“But since they will be forfeited or disposed for immediate use in the fight against COVID-19, the inventory will take the place of the physical evidence (of course, samples will be retained by our prosecutors),” he said.


Perete said DOJ, DTI, BOC, Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Health (DOH), and Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) have just signed the IATF-EID circular.