As a result of the ongoing battle against the COVID-19 global pandemic, the demand for face masks is projected to increase to 1.2 billion per month.
Secretary of the Department of Trade and Industry, Ramon Lopez said on Friday, April 17, that assuming 20 million households need two face masks per day, the demand for masks would reach 1.2 billion for just one month—not even including the requirements of hospitals such as for health care workers.
“We will continue to encourage more manufacturers to produce medical products, which would now be part of our basic necessities even after the lifting of the enhanced community quarantine,” he said.
Currently, the Philippine government requires all people to wear face masks when going out in public. Prior to the outbreak of the coronavirus in the country, the Philippines had only one face-mask maker based in Bataan.
Some manufacturing companies are now even repurposing their factories to produce personal protection equipment (PPE) and other products related to the government’s fight against the virus, said Secretary Lopez.
One such group is the Confederation of Wearable Exporters of the Philippines (Conwep), a group of garments and wearable exporters, has already begun producing PPE sets. Another company, an electronics manufacturer, the New Kinpo Group, will manufacture face masks and shields in addition to ventilators.
“What the DTI is doing is we encourage manufacturers or exporters to produce medical equipment or devices that are much needed nowadays,” Lopez said during a public briefing earlier last week.
The Board of Investments, a DTI-attached agency, began accepting applications for enterprises that would produce medical equipment and devices, as well as suppliers of raw materials and packaging of these products. Companies that will manufacture products helping fight the virus would be provided an exemption from import duties, taxes, and other fees as normally imposed by the government.