AS the country continues its battle against the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the Department of Transportation (DOTr) has started the distribution of 150,000 face masks to frontline health workers and essential personnel yesterday.
The Department earlier assured that priority will be given to hospitals, its frontline employees, those involved in port and airport operations, enforcers, and drivers helping in ferrying health workers under the DOTr Free Ride program.
Hospitals included in the distribution list are: Medical Center Manila, Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, San Lazaro Hospital, Philippine General Hospital, Lung Center of the Philippines, National Kidney and Transplant Institute, Perpetual Help Medical Center, Jose R. Reyes Memorial Medical Center, The Medical City - Ortigas, and UST Hospital.
Workers of DOTr offices will also be provided with face masks, including the Road sector, DOTr Emergency Operations Center, DOTr Central Office, DOTr MRT-3, Office for Transportation Security, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, Philippine Coast Guard, Manila International Airport Authority, Philippine Ports Authority, and the Land Transportation Office.
Lastly, enforcers of Philippine National Police - Highway Patrol Group helping in the orderly implementation of the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine will also receive free protective masks.
The distribution of face masks was made possible after a Good Samaritan pledged to DOTr Secretary Arthur P. Tugade on March 20 to supply the personal protective equipment.
In a message, the transportation chief reiterated his gratitude to the Good Samaritan who humbly extended help for the country's frontline workers amid a shortage of face mask.
"In desperate times like this, there are unsung heroes, who will go the extra mile to help our kababayans. Although we want to cover all hospitals as much as possible, we are happy for the 150,000 [face masks] readily available now. Ipapamahagi namin ito sa mga bayaning nagsasakripisyo para matulungan tayong makalagpas sa krisis na ito. Ito ang tulong namin sa inyo. Isa itong patunay na saludo kami sa trabaho ninyo," Secretary Arthur Tugade said.