The government has commissioned the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority to produce 50 million pieces of reusable face masks to be distributed to the public for free, a TESDA official said Sunday.
In a press release, TESDA deputy director-general for partnerships and linkages Aniceto Bertiz III said a Cabinet cluster has handed over to the agency the task.
“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.
Once 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 added.
Led by Secretary and Director-General Isidro Lapeña, TESDA on its own 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.
Moreover, the agency has been providing the face masks for free to returning Filipino migrant workers as well as COVID-19 frontliners such as medical workers, police officers and volunteers, Bertiz said.
“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,” Bertiz, a former member of Congress, pointed out.
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. —LBG, GMA News