San Miguel Corporation (SMC) said its first 40,000 sets of protective gear arrived today on board a Boeing-777 from China, part of a P500-million fund earmarked by the conglomerate to help augment existing supplies and better equip Filipino medical front liners in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
SMC president and chief operating officer Ramon S. Ang said the company has chartered the aircraft from Philippine Airlines and filled it “to the brim” with personal protective equipment (PPEs) sourced from suppliers in China, to be donated to various hospitals in Luzon where most COVID-19 cases are reported.
The shipment consists of 40,000 hazmat suits and goggles seen to help boost local supply of medical grade PPEs. Local manufacturers are also work to ramp up production capacity.
“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,” Ang said.
SMC earlier announced it was 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 was 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.
SMC plans to continue buying locally produced PPEs to donate to medical practitioners.
The 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” and CONWEP has 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 less fortunate communities during the Luzon-wide Enhanced Community Quarantine.
From Luzon, its food donations have started reaching provinces from Visayas and Mindanao.
It has also donated ethyl alcohol to hospitals, LGUs, and vital installations nationwide. These are produced at all its liquor manufacturing plants all over the country.