Local Fashion Company and DOST Will Make 500,000 'REwear' Face Masks for Hospitals
And now, more good news. As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, a good number of Filipino companies are rising to the occasion, helping the government in its efforts to arrest the virus.
This time, Power Fashion Inc. (PFI), the company behind Filipino style brands, Bayo, Unica, and Viseversa, is partnering with the Department of Science and Technology’s Philippine Textile Research Institute (DOST-PTRI) to manufacture 500,000 water-repellent, washable, and reusable face masks intended for frontliners in hospitals around the country.
“It will use a PTRI textile-coating technology for treatment and finishing. It will also collaborate with the Power Fashion Inc. to produce masks using local fiber textiles, which will be donated by the latter,” says DOST secretary Fortunato dela Peña in a Facebook post.
The REwear masks, as further described by the DOST, “…will be applied with textile water-repellent finishing technology developed by the Institute for added protection against viruses and bacteria that are usually spread through water droplets.” More important, it can be used up to 50 times without losing its repellency factor.
An outline of how the masks will be produced was also shared by the group: PFI, which has committed its factory workforce to make the masks, will donate and send its fabrics to the DOST-PTRI laboratory.
DOST-PTRI will test the fabrics for their resiliency to liquid pathogens such as COVID-19. It will then apply a functional treatment (developed by its Smartex laboratory) that would make the fabrics water-repellent. The agency will also impart a seal on treated face masks to mark that they have passed its requirements.
It’s not the first time PFI has stepped up to help Filipinos in crisis. During the Taal Volcano eruption in January, the company “temporarily stopped operations in their factory in Taytay, Rizal to make face masks to be distributed in the different evacuation centers.”
These water-repellent, washable, and reusable masks are needed now more than ever as hospitals in Metro Manila report the imminent shortage of resources for COVID-19 protection.