MANILA — The Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Textile Research Institute (DOST-PTRI) is seeking for textile donations for the 500,000 reusable face masks it would produce, its chief said Thursday.

"We are using donated finished fabrics which will have to be deresinized. We have established a test protocol, and only after we have ascertained the results can the fabrics be sent to Saffron for deresination and then finishing," PTRI Director Celia Elumba told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) thru email.

Elumba admitted it would take time for them to produce the masks due to lack of resources such as materials, and the equipment for full round of testing.

The mask, which will be called "REwear Face Mask Made Smart", will have a protective treatment that will repel liquid, making it prevent liquid droplets from coughing and sneezing that potentially carry the virus and bacteria, from penetrating the mask. 

DOST-PTRI claims this can be washed for up to 50 times.

Earlier, PTRI planned to donate these masks to the Department of Health (DOH) and the Inter-agency Task Force (IATF).

However, it was decided that the masks would go to the front-liners of national government agencies primarily based in the National Capital Region, according to Elumba.

"Masks will also be sent to the regions through DOST regional offices," she added. 

DOST-PTRI earlier announced it collaborated with local retailer-manufacturer, Power Fashion, Inc., dyeing and finishing mill, Saffron Philippines, Inc., and the Reliance Producers Cooperative to produce the reusable masks.

Elumba noted they got two additional partners for this project -- Chemrez Technologies, and Air21.

She clarified that Air21 did not offer the logistics services for free.

"They made themselves available and accepted our request even if we do not have a credit line," she said.

Meanwhile, those who would like to donate fabrics may find the complete mechanics and contact details on the PTRI's website, http://www.ptri.dost.gov.ph. (PNA)