DTI looks for face mask suppliers to reduce shortage

By Allysa Nievera

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is making efforts to reduce the shortage of face masks in the country by scouting for suppliers, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said.

Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez  (ALBERT ALCAIN/PPD / MANILA BULLETIN) Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez

“We took the initiative of looking for other suppliers so we were able to find some suppliers India, Thailand,” Lopez said in an interview with ANC on Wednesday.

“There is this local, one local mask manufacturer, a registered exporter actually out in Bataan,” he added.

Lopez said this manufacturer is able to produce 200,0000 face masks a day amid the huge demand due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.

“(They produce) 80,000 per day, but because of this huge demand, they brought in quickly, about two weeks ago, more machines that will enable them to produce 200,000 pieces a day,” he said. “Kaya humingi kami ng allocation sa kanila so that they will also prioritize the Philippine market.”

(We asked for an allocation from them so that they will also prioritize the Philippine market.)

Lopez said they allocated supplies for the Department of Health (DOH) and Philippine Red Cross.

“Government was able to another 125,000 pieces which we allocate to those really in need. First is DOH, DOH needs it for the health workers, the frontliners, so ‘yan (there), we donated 30,000 there and we donated 80,000 to Red Cross.”

“Yes we have a shortage because of the tremendous surge in demand, even worldwide,” Lopez said. “We got an allocation about 400,000 a week so that would probably the shortage for now, kasi for now ‘yun ‘yung walang supply.”

Face mask suggested retail price (SRP)

Lopez said the buying price now outside is in the range or P25 to P50 per piece, but they were able to get them at P8 pesos per piece.

“It’s been brought to P8 to P12 kasi ‘yung cost na ‘yun… nakuha pa natin at P8 per piece.” (It’s been brought to P8 to P12 per piece because the cost… like our exporter, we were able to get P8 per piece.)

“The drug stores were referred already to the supplier, kasi (because) they cannot get from their usual suppliers, so they are getting it at P8,” he added.

Lopez said at first the drug stores don’t want to buy because its cost is same as the SRP.

“That’s why we convinced DOH din na mag-adjust tayo (that we adjust) if you want supply to be in, so with the P8 cost it has to be sold at P10 at least,” he said.