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IN the wake of President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to local government units for the strict implementation of minimum public health safety protocols, which include the mandatory use of face masks and face shields for the public and personal protective equipment (PPE) for the frontliners, the local chief executive at the helm of the country’s Garment’s Capital called on the national government to seriously consider buying PPEs from their local manufacturers.

Speaking on behalf of the town-based local manufacturers, Taytay [Rizal] Mayor Joric Gacula appealed to the government to put focus in purchasing Filipino-made PPEs to help the textile industry suffering from the flooding supply of sub-standard China-made medical logistics.

Citing the Bayanihan law that was signed last year by no less than President Rodrigo Duterte, Gacula said that their local manufacturers are capable of meeting what is required under the standard rules set by the government in procuring re-usable PPEs.

The way the government purchases PPE, it is subject to certain standard rules for purchasing, which we can meet. What we can guarantee is that what we’re producing here is not sub-standard,” said Gacula, who hinted at the affordability and quality of the PPEs coming from the country’s Garment’s Capital.

We would like to call the attention of the national government to hear the plea of our local garments industry which has repurposed and reinvested to have the policies especially under the pandemic act, to really focus on buying Filipino-made PPE,” he added.

Gacula took pride in the locally-made reusable face masks and PPEs, which were supplied in many hospitals across the country.

The local chief executive recalls, their local garments industry repurposed to cater to the request of the government to help them in manufacturing medical-grade PPEs for healthcare frontliners during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing local folks to go back to work – until the market was flooded with imported ones.

We took the challenge last year and provided what was then required from us. We’ve done it before. We can do it over and over,” Gacula quipped.

Interestingly, garments-making has remained the major industry in Taytay, which has a population of around 400,000.

Duterte earlier reiterated his directive to local officials to enforce strict health protocols for protection against the coronavirus within their jurisdiction as the country’s COVID-19 tally breached the one-million mark.

In his televised meeting with members of the pandemic task force, Duterte reminded mayors and barangay captains that they would be slapped with charges over “dereliction of duty” should they fail to impose rules needed to prevent COVID-19 transmission.

It is a violation of the law and if you don’t enforce the law, there is a dereliction of duty which is punishable under the Revised Penal Code,” Duterte said.

Duterte also said mayors and barangay captains would be asked to explain why they should not be charged for not enforcing the law.

He also expressed dismay over reports that some Filipinos “repeatedly” ignore health measures against the coronavirus as he underscored that the government could exercise “police power” to catch violators.

In the same speech, Duterte announced that a stricter general community quarantine in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal ― collectively known as “NCR Plus”― would be in effect until May 30.

As of Friday, the Philippines recorded a total of 1,171,403 coronavirus infections. Of these, 1.096 million individuals recovered from the illness while 19,763 others died.

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