THE one million washable face masks targeted for mass production by the city government of Manila in an effort to provide each and every Manilan with basic protection against COVID-19 has been reached while providing jobs for over 300 persons amid the pandemic.
This was announced by Mayor Isko Moreno yesterday, as he congratulated the Public Employment Service Office (PESO) headed by Fernan Bermejo for having completed the task which was launched by Moreno and Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna on June 15.
Bermejo presented Moreno and Lacuna with a giant face mask, similar to the ones they made.
It was learned from Bermejo that the project was made possible with the help of 305 tailors, 10 master cutters and seven jeepney drivers. Each of them was paid P4 for every mask they were able to make, with the city government providing all the materials and even the sewing machines.
Bermejo said the mayor wants another round of face masks to be made starting with 500,000 pieces.
Moreno also thanked Malou Tiquia, president of the Universidad de Manila, for having lent some of the classrooms in the said university for the purpose and the Manila Traffic and Parking Bureau under Dennis Viaje for helping deliver the said face masks to assigned recipients.
Moreno launched the project amid the pandemic hitting two birds with one stone—- providing basic protection for those who cannot afford to buy face masks while creating temporary jobs for hundreds of residents.
The mayor noted that since disposable face masks are costly, the city government has come up with the idea of mass-producing washable ones and giving them to the residents for free.
Bermejo said the funds used for the project were not drawn from the city coffers but from the cash donations that the city had been receiving from donors here and abroad and who want to help the city in its fight against COVID-19.
For the purpose, the city purchased sawing machines and all other needs.
Under the scheme, payment is production-based, meaning each worker is paid a certain amount per mask made. In order to give the same opportunity to others, once a certain worker has already earned the average monthly wage of ordinary employes, his slot is given to another in line and so on. Moreno said the idea is patterned after a study which effectively stemmed the number of coronavirus cases in Czechoslovakia where the citizens themselves took the initiative to altogether make a lot of face masks to make them available to everyone, thus lowering the infection rate.
Meanwhile, Moreno said the P100,000 incentives being given to barangays which have no COVID cases for two consecutive months will continue. The budget was worked out by the city council headed by Lacuna as presiding officer.