The government’s repurposing program generated new investments of $35 million and saved 7,450 jobs amid the weakening of the global economy.
"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,” said Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Trade Ramon Lopez.
During the meeting of the Interagency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease, Lopez presented the Department of Trade and Industry’s additional response in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We reported to the President that the Philippines now has the capacity to locally manufacture high quality medical-grade PPEs, including N95 and N88 surgical masks. When the COVID-19 pandemic started in February, the country had no local manufacturing of PPEs, except for one exporter from Bataan,” Lopez said.
The DTI and the Board of Investments (BOI) encouraged local manufacturers to repurpose some of their manufacturing capacity into the production of critical products to fight COVID-19, such as PPEs and face masks, to lessen reliance from imports.
Lopez said the DTI works closely with local manufacturers from Confederation of Wearable Exporters of the Philippines, which started to switch their capacity and bought new production lines to be able to produce high quality medical-grade PPEs.
"More manufacturers such as Reliance, MedTechs, EMS, Tacca eventually started and expanded their production capacity. And they now formed a new alliance called the Confederation of Philippine Manufacturers on PPEs (CPMP) in the repurposing of manufacturing facilities to produce personal protective equipment," Lopez said.
Production of face masks have reached 57.6 million units and 3 million coveralls capacity per month.