Chinese billionaire and Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma has pledged to donate half a million face masks to the Philippines in a bid to help the government combat the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III announced Thursday.
“Mr. Ma has committed to begin delivery of the 500,000 masks either later this week or early next week through the Jack Ma Foundation and the Alibaba Foundation,” Dominguez said in a statement.
The Finance chief thanked Ma for his “generosity and desire” to help the Philippines in its fight to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I want to personally send my best regards and hope we can do something for the Philippines to fight this virus,” Ma was quoted as saying in a phone conversation with Dominguez.
“I hope that I can do something more. For now, we have decided to give 500,000 masks to the Philippines,” the Chinese entrepreneur said.
In response, Dominguez said, “Thank you very much, Jack. This is very, very much needed here, and I will tell our President right away of your generosity and your desire to help.”
Ma also provided Secretary Dominguez a downloadable electronic handbook that could help Philippine doctors, nurses, and other health workers remain safe and avoid infection while treating COVID-19 patients, according to the Department of Finance.
The handbook, published by the Jack Ma Foundation, draws on China’s lessons learned from fighting COVID-19 and is co-authored by several medical experts who served at the frontlines of China’s efforts to contain the spread of the virus.
Ma told Dominguez that with the handbook as a guide, “96% of the patients recovered, and none of the doctors or nurses got infected. So, I'm putting it online and I hope you can share it with the doctors and nurses and the hospitals in need.”
The Finance chief also informed Ma of the stringent steps the Philippine government has undertaken to contain the spread of COVID-19, and expressed confidence that such measures would work to eventually break the chain of community transmission of the virus. — Ted Cordero/BM, GMA News