Duterte orders gov’t agencies to produce, distribute free face masks
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered select government agencies to pool their resources to produce and distribute free face masks to the public amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
In his Memorandum Order 49, Duterte directed the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to be the lead implementing and coordinating agency for the production and procurement of the face masks.
Also ordered to work with DTI are the Department of Health (DOH), Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and the Presidential Management Staff (PMS).
The DTI is tasked to consolidate macro, small, and medium enterprise producers, cooperatives, and community organizations for the production of the face masks.
“The DTI shall likewise support the TESDA in gaining access to production networks and supplier markets for the raw materials and finished goods,” the Order read.
The DOH and DTI will determine the minimum, most cost-efficient, and good quality specifications necessary for the face masks to be effective against COVID-19 while the DBM-Procurement Service will assist in the procurement of face masks.
The fund required for the purchase will be charged against the available released allotments of the DOH.
For its part, the DSWD is ordered to use its network and facilities for the identification of and distribution to the priority beneficiaries of the face masks, such as those who are financially disadvantaged and persons with a disability, including the partner-beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino program.
The PMS Assistant Secretary for Regional Concerns will be in charge of monitoring and reporting the progress of distribution to Duterte.
“All other departments, agencies, and offices of the government, including government-owned and -controlled corporations, government financial institutions, and state universities and colleges are directed, and LGUs are enjoined to cooperate and render full assistance to ensure the prompt and effective implementation of this Order,” Duterte’s order said.
The Philippines so far has a total of 272,934 confirmed COVID-19 cases, the highest in the entire Southeast Asian region. Of the total cases, 207,858 have recovered while 4,732 have died. [ac]
The Inquirer Foundation supports our healthcare frontliners and is still accepting cash donations to be deposited at Banco de Oro (BDO) current account #007960018860 or donate through PayMaya using this link .
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.