Seeking to fortify the country’s medical front-liners in the global war against COVID-19 pandemic, conglomerate San Miguel Corp. has chartered a big aircraft full of personal protective equipment (PPEs) procured by the group from China.
The first 40,000 sets of these PPEs arrived in the Philippines on Wednesday via a Boeing-777 plane. This procurement is part of the P500-million spending earmarked by the conglomerate to help augment existing medical supplies and better equip Filipino medical front-liners.
SMC is also buying the first 10,000 PPEs to be made by local garments manufacturers under the Confederation of Wearable Exporters of the Philippines (CONWEP), the group tapped by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Health (DoH) to reconfigure their operations to ramp up local production of PPEs.
“We are very fortunate to have been able to buy this much PPEs. Globally, demand is so high. Many of the big countries want to buy them all. That is why when the opportunity to buy this much came, we grabbed it, and chartered a large aircraft to bring the supplies home,” SMC president and chief operating officer Ramon S. Ang said.
Ang said SMC had chartered the aircraft from Philippine Airlines and filled it “to the brim” with PPEs sourced from suppliers in China, to be donated to various hospitals in Luzon, where most COVID-19 cases were reported.
The shipment consisted of 40,000 hazmat suits and goggles seen to help boost the local supply of medical-grade PPEs, while local manufacturers are working to ramp up their production capacity.
On the local production of PPEs, DTI and DOH are targeting a capacity of 10,000 PPE coveralls per day from members of CONWEP, which normally export garments to top global brands.
Both the DOH and the Philippine General Hospital approved the design of the local PPEs to ensure they are “medical-grade.” CONWEP has likewise secured suppliers of raw materials.
“We are hoping that with these developments, more doctors and nurses nationwide will have less worry about their safety and the availability of PPEs in the coming days and weeks. It is crucial that our medical front-liners have the necessary protective equipment when they fight this virus, and we are glad to be contributing to our government’s efforts to address this issue,” Ang added.
Apart from its P500 million fund to acquire PPEs, SMC has also donated over P227 million in food products, including canned goods, meat and poultry products, rice, biscuits, coffee, dairy, and flour to make bread, to poor communities during the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine.
SMC’s food donations have also reached provinces from Visayas and Mindanao.
The group has also donated ethyl alcohol to hospitals, local government units, and vital installations nationwide. These are produced at all its liquor manufacturing plants all over the country.
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