IATF gives away face masks in Antipolo ahead of large-scale distribution efforts

ANTIPOLO CITY-  Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III, chairperson of the national Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF), led task force officials in the turnover of washable face masks and hygiene kits to some residents of poor communities here on Wednesday (Aug. 12).

Residents of some communities in Barangay San Roque received face masks and hygiene kits during the community visit of some IATF officials and the Coordinated Operations to Defeat Epidemic (CODE) Team of Rizal Province.

The recipients were DSWD assistance beneficiaries through either the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) or Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).

Prior to the distribution, Duque, along with IATF Vice-Chairperson Secretary Eduardo Año, Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez, Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Rolando Bautista, Department of Labor and Employment  Secretary Silvestre Bello III, Testing Czar Secretary Vivencio Dizon, and Metro Manila Development Authority General Manager and Undersecretary Jose Arturo Garcia Jr., presided over a ceremony at the Rizal Provincial capitol turning over face masks and hygiene kits of BIDA Solusyon sa COVID-19, an information campaign on COVID-19, to 15 individuals.

Governor Rebecca Ynares, along with City Mayor Andrea Bautista Ynares, Taytay Mayor George Ricardo Gacula III, and other municipal mayors in the province held a brief dialogue with the IATF officials regarding the concerns of  local government units in the fight against the coronavirus disease.

Lopez said the ceremonial distribution of face masks in this city was the initial stage of national government's committed effort to distribute 20 to 30 million face masks particularly to vulnerable sectors, among them the pregnant, the poor, senior citizens, and disabled, in response to President Duterte’s directive to strictly enforce minimum health standards in communities.

Lopez said the locally-made washable face masks were made in the programs of several government agencies, including DTI and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, through the manpower of some small- and medium-scale enterprises in the country.

Senator Christopher "Bong" Go, in a recorded message via remote streaming, lauded the medical frontliners for their sacrifices during this pandemic as he urged the people to do their part by strictly following the health protocols, including the wearing of face masks.

The DOH said in a press statement that 50 medical-grade masks shall be given to each household.