DOST, partner company to produce 500,000 reusable face masks that last 50 washes

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 18 2020 02:05 PM | Updated as of Mar 18 2020 04:20 PM

MANILA — The Department of Science and Technology announced that one of its institutes will be producing face masks to meet the high demand due to coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

“DOST’s Philippine Textile Research Institute (DOST - PTRI) in cooperation with the Taytay LGU and the private sector will produce 500,000 reusable face masks (up to 50 times),” Science Secretary Fortunato de la Peña posted on Facebook.

“It will use a PTRI textile-coating technology for treatment and finishing,” he added. “It will also collaborate with the Power Fashion Inc. to produce masks using local fiber textiles which will be donated by the latter.”

Evangeline Manalang, promotions head of the PTRI, told ABS-CBN News in a phone interview that they will be using water-repellent finishing on the face masks that will be sewn by the San Juan-based Power Fashion Inc., which is known for manufacturing garments for local fashion brands.

Manalang said the company had earlier utilized their scrap fabrics to make face masks during the Taal volcano eruption earlier this year.

This time, the fabric will undergo treatment at the PTRI’s office in Taguig to make it water repellent. 

Manalang said the masks that will be made can last 50 washes as it is meant to be washed daily.

PTRI will announce when they are able to produce and finish the face masks as they and Power Fashion will still have to make arrangements because of the lockdown. 

The Philippines has been grappling with a face mask shortage, with the government purchasing most of the supply for the public health sector. Face masks have long been sold out in stores even before the lockdown in Luzon.

There are now 193 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Philippines. Of that number, 14 have died and 7 have recovered.