Face mask manufacturing is not “rocket science,” Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto said, in batting for a “Buy Filipino” policy in providing protective apparel to the general population and the frontliners.
“Not all of the things we need today should be sourced from China, even if it is the world’s factory,” Recto said.
“What we can manufacture locally, let’s go for it, because doing so will ramp up manufacturing that creates jobs for our people,” he said.
He said a coalition of garment manufacturers has committed “an army of 10,000 sewers” ready to go into the production of protective gowns and masks.
“Tapping them is a win-win proposition. Sewers protect our people and we put food on the table of the sewers,” Recto said.
He said manufacturing cloth masks for general population use can become a village enterprise, a cottage industry that will meet local demand while employing local labor.
He said government, through agencies, can provide the seed capital for “municipal or barangay sewing groups to start churning out washable cloth face masks.”
“Hindi naman forever ang cloth masks. May expiry din ‘yan, for health reasons. Kung mabibigay ‘yan ng libre o mura, malaking tulong ‘yan sa pagpigil sa paglaganap ng virus,” he said.
“Instead of straight doleout, this can be a variance of conditional cash transfer — the ‘conditional’ here is the production of masks,” he said.
“Kaysa ayuda na walang kapalit, baka pwede ito ang mas magandang tulong to help tailors who have lost jobs or customers to the pandemic. Walang bumibili ng damit ngayon. Hindi kailangan ng uniporme sa online classes. Di rin kailangan mag-japorms kasi wala namang gimmick,” Recto said.
Recto is proposing a MASK – or Mask Assembly sa Kalunsuran – program that will be a component of ongoing pandemic response of government agencies.
“Isama na lang ito sa menu of projects na ginagawa ng DOST, DOLE, TESDA and DSWD,” Recto said.
Recto said his proposal should not be read as a waiver of medical production standards.
“‘Yung breathing apparatus na complicated, kailangan mo talaga i-import. Pero kung protective gowns lang, bakit kailangang Made in China, kung same quality at competitive ang presyo ng Made in Cavite?” Recto said. SENATE.GOV.PH