MANILA -- The garment capital of the Philippines has started producing personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline workers fighting the novel coronavirus.
The Taytay, Rizal municipal government commissioned the ‘Taytay Tiangge‘ garment manufacturers, whose livelihood have been put to a halt due to the the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis, to help ease the demand for PPEs.
“I coursed the initiative to the tiangge organizers. I asked them to tap the sellers, manufacturers, mananahi, etc. to start producing PPEs and authorized them to search for the right materials,” Taytay, Rizal Mayor Joric Gacula said.
The local government ensures only medical-grade materials are used in producing the PPEs.
“One material they were able to use is taffeta. The other one being used in high-quality raincoats, outdoor gear, and umbrellas,” Gacula explained.
With the help of partner organizations, Taytay Tiangge sewers and manufacturers are able to produce over 1,000 PPEs daily.
“In two days, they were able to fulfill the initial order of 2,500 PPEs,” Gacula said.
“We can produce more pieces, depending on the orders. There are more sewers who want to join the cause and help. If ever there will be more orders, we will get more sewers,” he added.
The garment manufacturers presently produce two types of protective gear.
”We have two designs. One is like a lab gown that can be used by ‘second liners’ (non-medical essential workers) and another one that has a hood and a garter para talagang maproproteksyonan ang buong ulo. This can be used in hospitals,” Gacula said.
Both designs are washable.
“After hugasan at bilad sa araw, hindi siya magiging brittle. Magagamit ng matagal, at least a year,” Gacula said.
A challenge the sewers face, however, is the lack of materials.
“The initiative will continue, as long as there are high-quality materials available. Right now, the materials have assorted colors, we are just making the most of what we have. Hopefully, we will be able to source more,” Gacula said.
To avoid businesses profiteering from the sudden spike in demand, the municipal government regulated the price of the PPEs at P350 (laboratory gown type) and P500 (full body with hood) each.
According to Gacula, the shortage is an opportunity to help, not to earn.
“I asked the organizers not to make the price high, because this is an initiative to help the frontliners. If they sell it at a low price also, more people will buy, and the more people we will be able to help,” he said.
“Taytay was blessed with the garment industry, it is an opportunity to give back. This is an effort of Taytayeños who want to help our kababayans,” Gacula added.
The initiative, however, does not only offer aid to the frontliners, but to sewers themselves, who lost their source of income after the Taytay Tiangge ceased operating due to the pandemic.
“Kahit maliit na tubo lang, they are able to become productive and make an income to help them get by. They won’t get hungry,” Gacula said.
The PPEs produced by the Taytay garment manufacturers are already being used by municipal personnel distributing relief goods.
The pandemic has caused a global shortage of PPEs. Several hospitals and medical workers have started calling for donations of PPEs as the number of COVID-19 cases in the country continues to grow.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) defined PPEs as “specialized clothing or equipment, worn by an employee for protection against infectious materials.”
In other words, PPE functions as the frontliner’s first line of defense against the COVID-19 virus, which has taken thousands of lives worldwide.
Based on the Department of Health’s April 7 bulletin, the total number of COVID-19 cases in the country has risen to 3,764.
Inquiries may be made to the Taytay Mega Tiangge head organizer at 0918-9050005.