DTI backs probe of PPE makers’ complaint | Inquirer Business

DTI backs probe of PPE makers’ complaint

/ 04:07 AM September 02, 2020

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez has backed a proposed senate inquiry into the state of locally made medical grade personal protective equipment (PPEs) after the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) continued to rely heavily on imported PPEs for health workers even when the country—after nearly P2 billion in private sector investments—has the capacity to make its own.

Sen. Risa Hontiveros filed a resolution on Aug. 27 calling for a Senate inquiry into the status and progress of the Bayanihan PPE project, an initiative wherein the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), in collaboration with the Department of Health (DOH), urged existing manufacturers to repurpose their facilities to make PPEs for health workers.

“We fully support the resolution to support the local manufacturing of PPEs, which are producing above standard products at competitive pricing. Buying local creates jobs in the country,” Lopez said in a Viber message when asked to comment on Senate Resolution No. 506.


A group of garments and electronics manufacturers spent $35 million to repurpose their plants at the request of the DTI, only to have the Procurement Service of the DBM—which orders on behalf of the DOH— import most of the government’s PPE requirements instead.


The DTI approached these manufacturers last March, at a time when the rest of the world was struggling to understand the fast-spreading new coronavirus disease and running short of critical resources like PPEs. Five of the companies who heeded this call then formed Confederation of Philippine Manufacturers of PPE (CPMP).

CPMP can now make at least 57.6 million medical-grade face masks and three million medical-grade coveralls and isolation gowns every month. The five CPMP members are Medtecs International Corp. Ltd., EMS Components Assembly Inc., Reliance Producers Cooperative, Luen Thai International Group Philippines Inc. and Tacca Industries Pty Ltd.

However, at a press briefing last month, CPMP officials said the DOH bought only up to 10 million medical grade face masks a month even though its monthly demand was estimated at 30 million to 80 million. The government did not buy any coveralls and isolation gowns from CPMP.

The situation prompted local manufacturers to either sell the rest to hospitals or export their products.

CPMP officials said they could readily invest another $36 million and add 4,000 workers, but the government needed to buy from them. The group has 7,450 direct workers. INQ

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TAGS: Business, Department of Budget and Management (DBM), PPEs

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