MANILA — The country’s lone manufacturer of surgical masks has committed to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to produce two million pieces of masks per month, DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez said Monday.
In a statement, Lopez said Medtecs International Corp. Ltd. pledged to supply this week 100,000 pieces of surgical masks and 400,000 per week thereafter, as it ramps up production capacity to meet rising local demand.
The Bataan-based manufacturer can produce 80,000 pieces of surgical masks per day, he said.
“Medtecs, which has been operating in the country for the last 41 years, expressed their continuous commitment to support and prioritize the requirements of the Philippines,” he added.
There was a sudden surge of demand for surgical masks late last week after the Department of Health (DOH) confirmed the first case of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCov).
As of last Friday, major drugstores Mercury Drug and Southstar Drug reported to DTI that they ran out of stock, while Watsons still had stocks and were deployed nationwide.
“They reported that there will be incoming stocks this week,” Lopez said.
He has also asked the department’s attached agency, Philippine International Trading Corp. (PITC), to source five million pieces of masks to add to the local supply especially for the needs of DOH and other health workers.
As of Monday morning, India, Pakistan, the United States, and some European Union countries said they have limited stocks of surgical masks.
The PTIC is waiting for the response of Thailand and Vietnam.
For alcohol and hand sanitizers, Lopez said there is no shortage for these products as there are many local manufacturers thus production can be easily increased. (SPH.com)