TESDA to produce up to 50-M reusable face masks to curb COVID-19 spread

Up to 50 million reusable cloth face masks will be produced by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) in the next four months in order to help curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).


According to TESDA deputy director-general for partnerships and linkages
Aniceto Bertiz III, a Cabinet cluster has handed over to TESDA the job of churning out the washable face masks that will be distributed to the public for free.

“We’ve been tasked to mass-produce the face masks based on required quality standards and at a cost of no more than P15 each,” Bertiz said.

He added that once these become available, the face masks would be turned over to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), and then to provincial, city and municipal governments, Bertiz said.

TESDA under Secretary Isidro Lapeña has been producing face masks through a home-based livelihood support program for marginal families since March, when commercial supplies of the protective gear first began to dry up.

Bertiz said that the agency has been providing face masks for free to returning Filipino migrant workers as well as COVID-19 frontliners such as medical workers, police officers and volunteers.

“In fact, TESDA’s official website provides a step-by-step video guide on how to make the washable face mask, including a downloadable pattern,” said Bertiz, a former member of the House of Representatives.

To quickly scale up the production of the face masks, Bertiz said TESDA may seek the help of its mother agency, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), in mobilizing highly labor-intensive small and medium-sized enterprises, particularly in the garments industry.

Malacanañg recently ordered the DILG to enforce the mandatory wearing of face masks by everybody in public, and to apprehend those who fail to comply.

The face mask is meant to trap droplets that are released when the a person talks, coughs or sneezes. It helps reduce the spread of COVID-19 by individuals who may not be aware that they are already infected.