MANILA – President Rodrigo R. Duterte will give a PHP20-million reward to any Filipino who can produce respirators that would be used to treat individuals infected with the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), Malacañang announced on Tuesday.
Duterte offered the reward money, considering the lack of respirators in hospitals amid the Covid-19 outbreak in the country, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a virtual presser aired on state-run PTV-4.
“Nagbigay po ng pabuya ang ating Presidente – PHP20 million para sa sinumang Pilipino na makakabuo ng local respirators na sabi niya ay dapat naman could outlast the life of a patient (The President is offering a PHP20-million reward to any Filipino who can develop a local respirator that could outlast the life of a patient),” he said.
In a televised briefing on Monday night, Duterte asked the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to increase their workforce and operate 24 hours to hasten the implementation of projects intended to stop the contagion.
Duterte gave the directive after DOST Secretary Fortunato dela Peña admitted that the country is having a difficult time procuring imported ventilators due to high demand amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Dela Peña said the average number of ventilators in the country’s small hospitals is a “very small fraction” compared to what is really needed.
He, nevertheless, ensured that DOST is eyeing the mass production of ventilators through its “Project Ginhawa”.
DOST’s Ginhawa, otherwise known as ReliefVent, is a locally-designed portable ventilator that is lightweight and much less expensive compared to imported ventilators.
Embedded with software for self-diagnostic cloud-based data analytic and protocols for operations and trouble-shooting, ReliefVent runs on both AC and DC power.
ReliefVent, which weighs 8 kg., can produce compressed air and do controlled ventilation, assist-control ventilation, and synchronous intermittent mandatory ventilation.
The Department of Budget and Management has approved the request of the Department of Health (DOH) for a PHP45.717-billion budget for various health-related programs that seek to put an end to the Covid-19 crisis.
Some PHP1.35 billion of the approved PHP45.717 billion will be used to purchase 1,500 units of mechanical ventilators to serve the needs of DOH hospitals, selected hospitals, military hospitals, and the University of the Philippines – Philippine General Hospital.
On April 23, Duterte also raised to PHP50 million the prize money for any Filipino who can develop a cure for Covid-19.
The Philippines has 7,777 confirmed Covid-19 infections, as of Monday. (PNA)