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500,000 facemasks distributed in Manila

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Manila's Public Employment Service Office (PESO) has distributed 533,224 free washable face masks to its residents on Monday.

Manila Mayor Francisco "Isko Moreno" Domagoso said this is in line with the efforts of the city government to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) in the nation's capital.

In an interview over ABS-CBN News Channel, Domagoso said the project aims to help poor Manileños so they can use whatever money they have for other necessities such as food, instead of spending their money to buy face masks.

At the same time, it also aims to provide livelihood especially for the displaced sewers and master cutters as many of them lost their jobs due to the pandemic.

Domagoso said he copied the idea from a Czechoslovakian concept.

“What they did, the community member created their own mask because of the supply and demand issue. Sabi ko pwede natin gawin to, makapagbibigay pa tayo ng trabaho sa community tapos makakapag proteksyon pa tayo sa mga mahihirap nating kababayan na hindi kaya maka afford ng face mask (I said that we can do the same here, we can create jobs in the community and give protection to the poor residents who cannot afford to buy them),” he said.

The project started two months ago.

As long as face masks are produced, they are immediately distributed to different barangays in the city.

Domagoso said currently, hundreds of jobs have been created because of this project.

For those who do not have their own sewing machines, there is a production area that set up at the Universidad de Manila, while those who own sewing machines are working from their own homes.

He said he targets to produce about one million washable face masks.

“Minimum goal is one million, at least half of the population kung maraming mahirap sa amin so sagarin ko na 50 percent mahirap, sila kaagad ang mabigyan as much as possible (If fifty percent of the city’s population are poor, they are the beneficiaries of the free face masks),” he said.

Domagoso added that in case they see that there is a need for more face masks and if the city government can still afford, the project will continue.

Meanwhile, the Manila Public Information Office (MPIO) encouraged everyone to comply with City Ordinance No. 8627 which imposes the mandatory use of face masks in all public places in the nation’s capital. 

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