Local PPE makers ask gov’t: What’s the plan?
MANILA, Philippines — A group of local manufacturers, which repurposed their facilities at the request of the government could now make tens of millions of personal protective equipment (PPE) in a year, but the Duterte administration had bought only a portion of that supply, which forced the group to lay off workers.
The Confederation of Philippine Manufacturers of PPE (CPMP) is made of five manufacturers with decades of experience in electronics and garment manufacturing. They were asked by the Department of Trade and Industry in March last year to repurpose their facilities to make medical-grade PPE, a move which cost the companies an initial investment of $35 million.
As of the third quarter of 2020, CPMP has a total capacity to make 720 million masks, 36 million coveralls and isolation gowns and 120 million PPE-related accessory covers.
“Unfortunately, the local supplier’s capacity was not maximized in the overall government procurement setup,” CPMP said in a statement on Tuesday, which urged the government to come up with a comprehensive stockpiling program.
All of the PPE the group made are medical-grade, which means they can be used by the country’s health workers. To ensure quality, each PPE had to be tested by international certifying bodies, since the country has no local testing capacity for it.
A comprehensive procurement program should include different processes in the supply chain, including how each PPE is tested.
“If these steps are accounted for in the supply chain and planning of the government, stringent rules can be put in place. This is one clear advantage of sourcing the product from local manufacturer[s],” CPMP said.
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