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Philippines' Goal: 20 Million Free Face Masks in 2 Months

Different departments will work together to make this happen.
by Clara Rosales
Sep 17, 2020
Photo/s: Mika Baumeister | Unsplash

The country's trade department is targetting to produce at least 20 million face masks in just 2 months to distribute it free of charge in an effort to keep the public safe as the pandemic persists.

This move comes after Malacanang ordered the different departments to work together to make free face masks for poor families a possibility.

"As we speak po, nag-uumpisa nang mag-deliver 'yung initial product. Pero siguro within 2 months, hopefully makumpleto namin itong 20 million (As we speak, delivery of the initial product is starting. Perhaps within 2 months, we can hopefully complete these 20 million masks.)," Trade Sec. Ramon Lopez told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.

Bidding for the project will be handled by the Department of Budget and Management, Lopez said.

Duterte ordered the DTI to tap different micro, small, and medium enterprieses and community organizations to produce the face masks.

Lopez explained that there will be multiple suppliers and distribution will be localized to the barangay level. The goal is to distribute work evenly to allow more people to benefit from the government project.

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Medical-grade face masks are commonly used, but Lopez said they're looking to create a more environment-friendly reusable version.

"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.

(What the Office of the President ordered for is the reusable kind so you can really use it several times and not the disposable ones you throw away after one or two uses that's why we're aiming to create reusable, washable masks for every Filipino.)

The face masks will have 3 layers and have a standardized size and design. The cloth to be used for the masks was approved by the Department of Science and Technology's Philippine Textile Research Institute.

Lopez said the simple design will use better fabric and come in a size that suits Filipinos. If ever, the generic design will mirror that of the Heal As One's, and will bear no names or pictures.

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