MANILA - The Philippines' Department of Trade and Industry is looking to produce 20 million face masks in 2 months, which President Rodrigo Duterte wants to distribute for free to the country’s poorest of the poor families.
"As we speak po, nag-uumpisa nang magdeliver 'yung initial product. Pero siguro within 2 months hopefully makumpleto namin itong 20 million," Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.
Lopez said the project would still go through bidding through the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).
“Para ho hindi lang magiging isang supplier. Ito ang mangyayari, hahati-hatiin sa mga barangay, consolidator na magdidistribute sa mga community, barangay,” he said.
President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday instructed the DTI to consolidate different micro, small and medium enterprises, as well as community organizations, for the production of face masks.
“Ang pinapagawa po ng Office of the President 'yung reusable para talagang mas madaming beses magamit at hindi 'yung disposable na tinatapon kada isa o dalawang gamit kaya ang ipo-project natin reusable, washable na face mask sa bawat Pilipino,” Lopez said.
He said they will make sure to distribute the work in order to allow more people to join and earn from the project.
“At the same time, 'yung produkto nila ay magagamit naman ng mga nangangailangan din,” he said.
The 3-layered face mask will have a standard size and design. The cloth to be used was also approved by the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Textile Research Institute.
“Simple lang 'yung design. Ang kinaiba, mas maganda 'yung tela at 'yung size niya mas angkop sa Pilipino,” he said.
He added, “If ever, ang design nito ay parang Heal As One. Very generic para alam natin ito ay galing sa project na ito. Pero wala hong pangalan, walang picture.”
The government requires the wearing of face masks in public places. Face shields are also mandatory for those using public transport and in commercial establishments.
As of Wednesday, the Philippines reported 272,934 cases of COVID-19, of which 60,344 are active cases. Of the total, 207,858 have recovered and 4,732 died from the disease.