PH companies making surgical, face masks lauded by Roque; country has not moved beyond providing PPE, critics deplore

Published August 14, 2020, 5:11 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

The Filipino nation got another congratulatory message from Presidential spokesman Harry Roque, this time for the country’s ability to produce its own protective equipment against the coronavirus disease. 

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque (JOEY DALUMPINES/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

Roque took pride that the local companies are now producing face masks and personal protective equipment sets to meet the country’s requirements.

“It is with pride and pleasure that I show to you made in the Philippines surgical masks. Made in the Philippines po N88 surgical masks. Made in the Philippines 3-ply face masks at made in the Philippines PPEs,” he said, showing off samples of the products during his televised press briefing on Thursday.

“Ang galing talaga ng Pilipinas po, sa sandaling panahon nakagawa po tayo ng kinakailangan natin para labanan itong COVID-19. Congratulations Philippines (The Philippines is really great. In a short span of time, we are able to produce the things we need to fight COVID-19. Congratulations Philippines),” he said.

The Palace official said a group of local manufacturers invested around $35 million to produce medical grade PPEs and face masks. The latest activity initiated by Confederation of Philippine Manufacturers on PPEs (CPMP) provides employment to 7,450 workers.

So far, he said the group has a production capacity of 57.6 million masks and 3 million pieces of coveralls and isolation gowns for the protection of health frontliners.

The Palace official’s latest celebratory pronouncement however did not sit well with some netizens who felt the government has not yet moved past the supply of protective equipment while other nations are now tackling potential coronavirus treatment. 

Roque also became a subject of some memes mocking his latest messaging style on social media.  One of the memes taking a dig at Roque read: “Ang Russia nasa phase 3 na ng vaccine. Indonesia nasa phase 1 na rin. Ang Pilipinas nasa phase shield pa rin.”

Russia recently announced it has registered the world’s first coronavirus vaccine and announced plans to share the supply with the Philippines. The phase 3 clinical trials of the vaccine, reportedly called Sputnik V, will be held in the Philippines this October simultaneously with Russia.

Indonesia has also started final phase clinical trials on a potential vaccine dubbed CoronaVac being developed with a Chinese biotech company.

 
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