Member companies of the Confederation of Wearable Exporters of the Philippines (CONWEP) will start the local production of medical-grade PPE suits for healthcare personnel, as a response to the government’s call to address the deficient supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) in the country.
“We need to protect our healthcare workers as they are in the frontline of our fight against COVID-19," stated Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary and Board of Investments (BOI) Chairman Ramon Lopez. "With PPEs in short supply globally, the government and private sector have collaborated closely to locally produce these critical items needed to protect those who are protecting us against this virus.”
This follows the reported widespread shortage of adequate protective gear for medical frontliners as the number of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines continues to rapidly spike, with local fashion designers heeding the need and banding together to help manufacture PPEs in their ateliers, workshops, and factories.
According to the BOI's official website, "The government—namely [through] BOI Governors Fita Aldaba and Marjorie Ramos-Samaniego—shepherded the project by linking Industry and the Health sector (PGH and DOH) in developing a medical-grade prototype that can be used even in the high COVID-risk hospital situations (e.g. operating rooms, COVID 19 positive wards, ICUs, and the like). Under this partnership, member-companies of CONWEP executed the design prototype of the PPE coveralls. After several tests by DOH and PGH, CONWEP refitted the design prototypes until its final approval by the DOH and PGH."
Dr. Regina Berba, head of the Philippine General Hospital's Hospital Infection Control Unit (HICU), also said that “locally-made PPEs which meet standards are exactly what we need during this pandemic period which further complicated by limited access to stocks from traditional supplier. We at the PGH HICU have seen and tested a sample of the CONWEP-BOI PPE. Its material and design meet our strict requirements for PPEs to be used by our health force.”
“We have to complement the production capacity of CONWEP with financial resources which lie elsewhere in the private sector,” Secretary Lopez added. To this end, production capability and necessary financial resources have been linked as San Miguel Corporation will procure the initial 10,000 units of PPE coveralls and donate these to PGH.