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Gov’t orders TESDA to churn out masks to be distributed free

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By Prince Golez

The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) has been commissioned to produce 50 million washable cloth masks within the next four months to protect the public against and limit the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19).

According to TESDA deputy director-general Aniceto Bertiz III, a Cabinet cluster has directed the agency to manufacture reusable face masks for free distribution.

“We’ve been tasked to mass-produce the face masks based on required quality standards and at a cost of no more than P15 each,” Bertiz said in a press release Sunday.

Once available, the face masks would be turned over to the Department of the Interior and Local Government, and then to provincial, city and municipal governments.

TESDA has been producing face masks through a home-based livelihood support program for marginal families since March, when commercial supplies of the protective gear had been in short supply.

“In fact, TESDA’s official website provides a step-by-step video guide on how to make the washable face mask, including a downloadable pattern,” the official said.

Meanwhile, Bertiz said the agency may seek the help of the Department of Trade and Industry, its mother agency, in mobilizing highly labor-intensive small and medium-sized enterprises to quickly scale up the production of the face masks.

The Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases earlier required the public to wear a face mask when going out to prevent transmission of Covid-19.

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