Amidst the continuous increase of Covid-19 cases in the Philippines, The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) along with its partnerships planned to produce and donate 500,000 reusable face masks to the Department of Health (DOH) and the Inter-agency Task Force (IATF)
“With the implementation of the Enhanced Community Quarantine, we are laying out the logistics and securing necessary permits to move and produce these masks. We aim to get going by next week and release the first batch,” said DOST-Philippine Textile Research Institute (PTRI) promotions head Evangeline Manalang to the Philippine News Agency (PNA).
It is intended that way so as to give the masks appropriately to those who needs them the most, by firstly donating them through the IATF and/or DOH which are in a better position to identify those people.
PTRI Director Celia Elumba have already give an OK in funding for the mask production, in which PHP15 million from the government and PHP3 million from DOST’s private partners were allotted for the donation, according to Manalang.
Last Wednesday, it was announced on DOST Secretary Fortunato dela Peña’s Facebook page of creating 500,000 reusable face masks (up to 50 times) using the PTRI textile-coating technology for treatment and finishing as well as using local fiber textiles for the masks. The masks will be made with regular fabric, with the outer layer of the masks be coated with the said technology. It will still be breathable, according to Malanang.
“We are finishing the masks with a protective treatment that will repel liquid. There are tons of cloth masks, but unless they are repellent, they are just good for street pollution, or maybe ashfall,” Elumba told the PNA in a text message.
Called “REwear Face Mask Made Smart”, it delivers the quality masks made exactly against the Covid-19. Being water-repellent, it would prevent liquid droplets from coughing and sneezing that potentially carry the virus and bacteria from penetrating the mask.
The DOST-PTRI collaborated with local retailer-manufacturer, Power Fashion, Inc., dyeing and finishing mill, Saffron Philippines, Inc., and the Reliance Producers Cooperative in making 500,000 masks happen.
“With the mask’s rewearability, this would practically mean 25 million masks in the system, hopefully freeing up much needed surgical and N95 masks for medical frontliners,” Manalang said.