Sec. Lopez Assures Support For Local PPE Makers

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Answering the call of manufacturers to prioritize Philippine-made personal protective equipment (PPE) in government procurement, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez said his office is coordinating with the Department of Health (DOH) and Department of Budget and Management Procurement Service (DBM-PS) to provide support for the domestic industry.

“DTI is now coordinating with the CPMP and the Department of Health and the DBM-PS on the implementation of Bayanihan 2 – anticipating its passage into law; as well as on aligning PPE demand requirements, timing of procurement, and flow of production,” Lopez said in a statement over the weekend.

He said the DTI and DBM have pushed to have a provision of preference to locally-manufactured and internationally-certified medical-grade PPE under the Bayanihan 2.

“DTI emphasizes that we have always been pushing for patronizing local manufacturers in sourcing PPE in the government procurement process. Thus, we also thank the Senate and the House of Representatives for incorporating our proposals in the Bayanihan 2 and their continued support of our Philippine-based manufacturers as well as our partners from the DOH and DBM-PS,” the trade chief added.

He noted that prioritizing locally-made products will help in saving jobs for Filipinos and Philippine-based firms amid this challenging business environment due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“For the DTI side, we continue to work with the Industry to further strengthen the country’s PPE ecosystem including filling-in the remaining value chain gaps such as linking polypropylene resin producers with non-woven medical grade fabric manufacturers, attracting investments in important support services like local PPE testing laboratories, and developing an online real-time platform for matching supply and demand including from private hospitals,” Lopez mentioned.

Earlier, the Confederation of Philippine Manufacturers of PPE (CPMP) identified that the local industry’s key challenge is getting the demand from the government.

CPMP President Lawrence delos Santos has urged the DOH and the DBM-PS to coordinate with the industry on their PPE requirement so that the local manufacturers can prepare to supply the demand from the government.

He said up to 99 percent of the government’s PPE requirements are being served by imported products, mostly coming from China.

However, the group noted that the quality of imported PPE are not being tested when it arrived in the Philippines unlike the locally-produced PPE that have undergone inspection by the Food and Drug Administration and passed the highest testing standard done by international testing laboratories.

CPMP is composed of Medtecs International Corp. Ltd., EMS Components Assembly Inc., Reliance Producers Cooperative, Luen Thai International Group Philippines, Inc., and Tacca Industries Pty Ltd.

Except for medical-grade surgical face masks maker Medtecs, the four other firms repurposed their businesses into PPE-making to support the country’s need for these products for medical workers in their fight against Covid-19. (PNA)

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