By Dhel Nazario
More than 17,000 washable and reusable face masks have been produced by Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) training institutions which will be distributed to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) frontliners.
This was after TESDA Secretary Isidro Lapeña issued a memorandum last March 16, encouraging the agency’s training institutions which have registered programs in Dressmaking NC II to immediately start producing and distributing the face masks.
According to Lapeña, the TESDA face masks are made of cotton or any suitable material which are washable and reusable.
“The basic design of these masks follows the specifications of the Department of Health, and will have a slot inside where a ply of tissue can be inserted for proper protection,” added the TESDA chief.
The TESDA institutions nationwide have produced over 17,866 face masks. Most of the masks were given for free to frontliners, hospitals, barangay tanods and health workers, police officers at checkpoints, jails, local government units and other government agencies, members of the media, and jails, as well as to TESDA employees and their families.
“TESDA has decided to do something in view of the reported lack of face masks throughout the country, and amid reports that when available, face masks are being sold at exorbitant prices. So, we are distributing our masks for free to those who are most at risk. In this way, they can continue performing their duties in relative safety,” said Lapena.
TESDA – Region V produced the most number of masks at 6,542 pieces which have since been distributed to local government units, Catanduanes Provincial Hospital, Sorsogon City District Jail, rural health centers, various barangays, among others.
TESDA – Region III produced 4,058 pieces of face masks and were donated to Region IVA and to Malvar National High School. Others were distributed to the regional and provincial employees.
Meanwhile, TESDA – Region II has so far produced some 3,250 masks and most were donated to the local government units of Lasam in Cagayan and Kasibu in Nueva Vizcaya. The regional office is targeting an additional 9,000 masks for donation to the Philippine National Police and other government hospitals in the region.
Meantime, schools and training centers in Region IV-B have produced 2,950, and has donated more than 1,000 to the officers manning PNP checkpoints in various towns in Oriental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, and Palawan. Others were donated to the LGUs, and barangay health workers.
Meanwhile, TESDA – NCR and Region VII produced 500 and 391 pieces of face masks, respectively, with the latter donating to the regional office of the Department of Agrarian Reform, as requested. Region I donated its 175 face masks to PNP frontliners and barangay safety officers in Lingayen, Pangasinan.
Lapeña stressed that those involved in the production of the safety masks, specially the trainees and their trainers, have gladly volunteered their time and skills while strictly observing all precautionary and social distancing measures.
Other regional offices of the agency are currently mass producing face masks and shall continue while the demand exists.