THE Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) have been urged to turn the global demand for face masks and other Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as an opportunity to provide jobs for the millions of Filipinos now stuck in their homes because of the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ).
Former Negros Occidental Rep. Albee Benitez said TESDA can launch an online vocational training program for the production of face masks, face shields, biohazard coveralls, gloves and other PPEs while DOLE can provide the seed money for the raw materials and equipment.
Benitez said this could greatly help the frontliners who are constantly at risk of being exposed to the dreaded coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) virus because of the lack of PPEs.
"Nananawagan po ako sa DoLE at ganoon din sa TESDA na mag-organisa ng isang livelihood program para sa ating mga mamamayan habang ang ilang parte ng bansa ay dumaranas ng Enhanced Community Quarantine. Isang programang makakatulong din sa ating mga frontliners sa panahong ito, tulad ng pag-gawa ng PPE at Face Mask Making Program. Tiyak na malaking tulong ito sa mga Pilipinong nawalan ng kabuhayan at sa mga frontliners na makikinabang sa produkto," Benitez said.
He added that there is also a global demand for all kinds of PPEs, especially face masks.
Benitez said that after the terrifying experience with COVID-19, people are now more conscious about their hygiene and their health.
This should sustain the demand for face masks as he predicted that wearing them could even become the new global trend even after the virus has been fully contained.
"I think that even after the pandemic is over, there will be a big market for these face masks. The Philippines should jump in and become one of the world's leading supplier of face masks," Benitez, a successful entrepreneur, said.
Benitez said that the government should take the initiative to finance and organize livelihood programs to help the people especially now that many of them are practically dependent on dole-outs as they wait out until the ECQ is lifted by the government.
"Pansamantalang pantawid-gutom lang itong ibinibigay ng gobyerno na P5,000 hanggang P8,000 na social amelioration fund. Mas maganda siguro na mabigyan na natin ng pang-matagalan na kabuhayan ang ating mga kababayan at sa tingin ko napakagandang produkto ngayong iyong mga face mask," Benitez noted.