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Raffy Ayeng

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Groups of personal protective equipment (PPE) manufacturers are calling out the government to set up a comprehensive program to support their long-term sustainability to preserve Filipino jobs.

In a joint statement, the Confederation of Wearable Exporters of the Philippines (CONWEP) and Coalition of Philippine Manufacturers of PPE (CPMP) issued a request for government to support the immediate passing of the Philippine Pandemic Protection Act and StockPiling Bills pending in both chambers of Congress.

The PPE manufacturers are mostly factories that have been reoriented to the production of PPE in response to appeal from the government but unfortunately, their capacity was not maximized.

“CPMP members ran at only 27 percent of their monthly capacity for coveralls and gowns of about 815,000 units and 69 percent of monthly mask capacity or around 41.3 million units. Until February of 2021, these items have been produced and delivered accordingly. Clearly, the utilization of existing domestic capacity was marginalized,” the statement read.

Slow-moving stocks

The groups also stressed that locally-produced PPE are not being acquired fast enough resulting to a major bottleneck in the supply chain.

“This also builds on the critical need to establish collaboration between government and the local industry on the national PPE procurement process or system, to work together and address what the country needs to buy, when to buy the medical grade PPE under a cohesive nationwide stockpiling program similar to those of other countries such as Thailand, Singapore Taiwan, Japan, the United States to name a few,” according to the joint statement.

“Sourcing from other countries, particularly from unscrupulous foreign suppliers of PPE, has unfortunately heightened the vulnerability of flooding the local market with substandard products,” the statement said.

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