Any individual, group, or organization can send donations to the Philippines. To avail of duty-free entry of donations, certain conditions and requirements have to be complied with under existing rules and regulations governing the importation of donations. There are specific items which may be allowed duty-free entry, as there are organizations entities in the Philippines that are allowed to receive donations on a duty-free basis.
- Goods or items which may be allowed duty-free entry by the Philippine government are the following:
- Food items and non-food commodities for relief dispensing organizations;
- Medicines and medical supplies/ equipment;
- Books and other educational, scientific, or cultural materials;
- Essential machinery and equipment, including spare parts and accessories thereof;
- Essential consumer goods not available locally in times of calamities and/ or fortuitous events; and
- Other articles in the interest of economic development, not included in the list of prohibited/ contraband and restricted/ regulated items issued by government agencies concerned subject to certain conditions.
The following agencies/ entities/ institutions in the Philippines may receive donations on a duty-free basis:
- Non-profit, welfare, religious, and charitable organizations which are registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission and duly licensed/ accredited by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), as provided for in Section 105 (1) of the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines;
- Educational institutions accredited by the Department of Education that are enjoying tax incentives under Department of Finance Order No. 137-87;
- Educational, scientific, and cultural institutions or societies, and similar organizations duly approved by competent authorities such as DECS and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) National Commission of the Philippines;
- Other non-profit religious and charitable institutions (except civic/ service/ cultural and scientific organizations), duly registered primary and secondary hospitals upon recommendation by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA); and
- Other organizations covered by bilateral or international agreements to which the Philippines is a signatory, and by Presidential decrees and other special laws.
Government agencies including local government units may also receive donations, in cash or in kind, from foreign sources for purposes relevant to their functions. The acceptance of donations from foreign governments is, however, subject to prior clearance and approval of the President of the Philippines upon recommendation of the Secretary of Foreign Affairs (General Provisions of the General appropriations Act). Taxes and customs duties to be paid by government agencies on this importation will be subject to automatic appropriations (General Provisions of the General Appropriations Act). NOTE: Other organizations not licensed or accredited by DSWD, Department of Health (DOH), and DECS may also receive donations but they will be required to pay customs duties and taxes. . All importations of donated articles are subject to the payment of the of Value-Added Tax (VAT) unless expressly exempt from such imposition Under Title IV, Chapter I, Section 1 of the VAT law. The VAT is Equivalent to about 10% of the landed cost of the shipment.
These documents are required prior to the issuance of duty-free certification by government agencies concerned:
From the Donor:
- Deed of donation duly authenticated by the Philippine Embassy/ Consulate;
- Pro-forma or commercial invoice and packing list/ inventory of donated items; and
- Shipping documents (bill of lading/ airway bill).
From the Donee:
- Letter of request to agencies concerned for duty-free certification;
- Notarized deed of acceptance and distribution plan of the recipient Endorsed by the DSWD Regional Office where the NGO is based, if the recipient endorsed by the DSWD Regional Office where the NGO is based, if the recipient is a DSWD-accredited or licensed NGO.
- Other documents may be requested depending on the nature of donated articles.
- The recipient organization is usually expected to shoulder the cost of the following:
- Shipment cost from port of origin to port of entry.
- Arrastre and wharfage charges. Storage fees for donated goods kept at the storage area (i.e., NAIA Cargo Terminal, Manila International Container Port, South Harbor) while awaiting release from the custody of the Bureau of Customs, if the cargo is not withdrawn within seven (7) working days.
- Demurrage fees (being charged by the shipping lines) for the use of the containers/ vans, if the cargo is not withdrawn within seven to ten (7-10) working days depending on the policy of the shipping agency.
- Trucking fees to transport cargo from the container yard to the recipient/ consignee’s warehouse.
- Customs brokerage fees, if services of a customs broker or a brokerage firm is availed of.
NOTE: If the recipient is not in a financial position to defray the aforementioned fees, the donor should be made aware that other fees/ charges will be collected on the donations upon arrival of the shipment in the Philippines.