Malacanang on Wednesday directed government agencies to manufacture and distribute face masks to the public for free. Face masks are among primary defenses against the coronavirus and the strict enforcement of rules on wearing them have led to a drop in new infections.
The Department of Trade and Industry was tasked to tap small and medium enterprises to manufacture face masks and provide specifications together with the Department of Health, according to a memorandum signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea.
The Department of Budget and Management will be in charge of procurement while the Department of Social Welfare and Development will identify priority beneficiaries. The Technical Education Skills and Development Authority was also asked to assit.
Face masks and face shields are required when commuting and entering commercial establishments in the Philippines.
Face masks provide up to 95% protection and could go up to 99% with face shields, said the former dean of the UP College of Public Health, Nina Gloriani. This is because there are now two barriers covering the face.
"Talagang ang gusto mong takpan ay ang bibig, ilong at mata (You really want to cover the mouth, nose and eyes)," she told reportr earlier.