DOST-PTRI Donates 24,000 REwear Face Masks to BJMP through OCD-NDRRMC
By: Sharmainne Rhey B. Caoili
Technology Transfer, Information and Promotions Staff
BICUTAN, TAGUIG CITY – The DOST-PTRI delivered 24,000 pieces of the DOST - funded REwear Face Masks Made Smart to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) through the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD-NDRRMC). This is in line with the objective of a quick response project in support of the commitment to the ‘Bayanihan to Heal as One Act’ to beat the COVID-19 pandemic in the Philippines.
The DILG recently reported over 180 active cases of COVID-19 in BJMP-run jail facilities. With the number of active cases, the REwear face masks, found to adhere to the World Health Organization’s guidelines for non-medical masks, will be of help to BJMP personnel in stemming the spread of the virus.
As the textile research arm of the Department of Science and Technology, the Philippine Textile Research Institute (DOST-PTRI) is committed to produce 500,000 REwear Face Masks Made Smart. Equivalent to 25M masks, these reusable, washable, and re-wearable masks with non-toxic textile water-repellent finishing technology on the outer piece of the cloth face masks protect the wearer from potential liquid-borne contaminants such as viruses and microbes from reaching the wearer’s mouth and nose. Compared to the disposable face masks, REwear masks can be used up to 50 times following wash instructions that come with every mask. The four-layer and close-fitting masks are also made from cotton-based fabrics making them highly absorbent, breathable and comfortable to use.
The Institute’s initiative, with the collaborative support of various private companies, has donated 36,370 REwear Face Masks Made Smart to various NGAs as of July 26, 2020. DOST-PTRI is actively looking for textile manufacturers who will adopt the water-repellent technology, produce water-repellent fabric, and REwear face masks, to make them available to the market.
According to the DOST-PTRI Director and REwear Project Leader Ms. Celia B. Elumba, masks alone do not provide the sole solution to the pandemic. The mask is a first line of defense and is only one of preventive or hygiene measures which includes respiratory hygiene, frequent and proper hand-washing, physical distancing and avoidance of face-touching. While ordinary cloth masks may provide 38-50% protection against particulates, this is not adequate for liquid-borne pathogens such SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19. REwear makes use of fabrics produced in our country, and makes the ordinary cloth mask, smart, and adequate to meet the threat face on. Dir. Elumba enjoins manufacturers and consumers alike, to look for the REwear Mark._________________________________________________________________________________