By Minerva Newman
CEBU CITY— More than 6,000 pieces of washable and reusable face masks, with prices ranging from P20 to P30 each, have already been produced by sustainable livelihood program associations (SLPAs), and delivered to Cebu, Bohol and Negros Oriental as part of efforts to fill the gaps created by the shortage in the supply of face masks in Central Visayas.
The face masks, which are continuously being produced by the SLPAs, have also been distributed to vital agencies in the three Central Visayas provinces.
The masks were produced by SLPA skill training graduates, and were fashioned out of rags, old dresses, and other clothing materials.
Most of the SLPA graduates are 4Ps beneficiaries who were technically supported and trained by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD-7) to engage in micro, small, medium businesses in their respective communities in Central Visayas. DSWD-7 provided the seed capital fund for these SLPAs to start their livelihood projects.
DSWD-7 Assistant Regional Director for Operations Shalaine Lucero saw the potential of the organizations to help fill the gap in the scarcity of face masks in the region due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis.
She asked its SLPA coordinator for the possible production of improvised face masks to cater to the local demand.
DSWD7-SLP Regional Program Coordinator Rizalina Patindol immediately coordinated with the various provincial project development officers in the region to pinpoint possible SLPAs that would be ready for such a task.
Patindol was able to identify five SLPAs that were able and willing to do the job. These SLPAs include the Sam-Ang Pantawid SLA in Toledo City; Katawhang Madasigon Sa Brgy Matutinaw SLPA in Badian, Cebu; Kahugpungan Kababayenhang Loonanon (KKL) in Cogon Norte, Loon, Bohol; Damarba SLPA in Basay Negros Oriental and Analyn Lucion in Argao, Cebu.
According to Patindol that the skills of the members were maximized. “We always think positive and always welcome other opportunities that would come their way as long as it is safe and legal because it is also their social responsibility to help the community and people as well, especially in time of crisis,” she said.
Patindol added that the production of face masks is an alternative solution to earn more income while some of their projects are affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.
Cebu Program Coordinator Ma. Giovanna Roselyn Vistal revealed that the (DSWD) Field Office 7 was the first to order face masks from the Sam-ang Pantawid SLA, afterwhich many government agencies and non-government organizations including resellers have already started ordering upon knowing about this information.
Some of the noted buyers were the Mactan Cebu International Airport, DSWD Field Office VII, Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) in Negros Oriental, some Barangay Local Government Units (BLGUs) in Toledo City and Loon, Bohol.
Bohol Program Coordinator Jimmy Crusio said that the local government unit (LGU) of Tagbilaran City, Bohol already tapped the Kahugpungan Kababayenhang Loonanon (KKL) to produce 25,000.00 pieces of face masks which will be distributed to the LGU personnel.