FACE MASKS. A vendor wears face mask and face shield while selling face masks as the country continue to grapple with the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic. Malacañang on Thursday (Aug. 13, 2020) said that local manufacturers are producing 57 million pieces of personal protective equipment (PPEs) and face masks per month. (File photo)

MANILA – Local manufacturers are producing 57 million pieces of personal protective equipment (PPEs) and face masks per month, Malacañang said Thursday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made this statement after the recently-formed alliance Confederation of Philippine Manufacturers of PPEs announced that they are repurposing their capacity to produce high-quality and medical-grade PPEs and face masks.

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez earlier said the repurposing program led to new investments of USD35 million (PHP1.7 billion) and saved 7,450 jobs which were supposed to be laid off due to the weakening of the global economy.

He also stressed the need for the government to patronize locally produced PPEs which are standard compliant and more competitive in pricing.

“We are able to save jobs every time the country buys local products. If we buy imported products, we save the jobs in other countries.” Lopez said in a statement.

With enough supply of face masks, Roque reminded the public to properly wear face masks to avoid catching or spreading coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

“Kinakailangan ilagay po natin sa tama – natatakpan po ang ilong at bibig, hindi po sa baba at itaas ng leeg (We should wear it properly—it should cover our nose and mouth, not our chin and neck),” he said.

Last month, a survey conducted by UK think tank YouGov, in partnership with the Institute of Global Health Innovation at Imperial College London showed that around 91 percent of Filipinos wear face masks whenever they leave their homes.

Hospital beds

Even after the Philippines’ Covid-19 tally broke the 100,000 mark, Roque said the country continues its fight against the deadly virus with an “improved” critical care capacity.

“Hindi po tayo nagkukulang ng mga bed capacity o iyong kakayahang magbigay ng medical attention sa mga nagkakasakit (We are not lacking in bed capacity or the ability to give medical attention to those who get sick),” he said.

Citing data from the Department of Health (DOH) as of August 11, Roque said that only 55 percent of intensive care unit (ICU) beds in the country are occupied while 49 percent of isolation beds are occupied.

Public schools will also be tapped as temporary isolation centers for mild and asymptomatic Covid-19 patients, he added.

As of August 13, Covid-cases in the country reached 147,526 after health authorities recorded 4,002 new infections.

Recoveries jumped to 70,387 with 1,403 more survivors while the death toll stands at 2,426 with 23 new deaths. (PNA)