LOCAL manufacturers of personal protective equipment (PPE) are asking the government to create a stockpiling program that will exclusively procure local supply. Garment exporters last year retooled their factories to manufacture various types of PPE, shelling out $35 million in initial investments, in response to government’s request for help in meeting demand amid the coronavirus pandemic. The Confederation of Philippine Manufacturers of PPE (CPMP), however, said their manufacturing capacity was not maximized as the government continued to source most of its PPE requirements from other countries. In a statement on Tuesday, CPMP said that government procurement done at the end of last year only picked up 27% of their members’ monthly production capacity for coveralls and gowns and 69% of their monthly capacity for face masks. To address the mismatch, the industry group is asking the government to create a procurement program that allows local manufacturers a certain period of time to source and stockpile raw materials. “The government can plan the requirement projections to ably address the bottlenecks in the PPE supply chain management mechanism,” the group said. The PPE makers also asked the government to create a supply chain committee that will work with industry players in developing a national PPE sourcing plan. An exclusive local-sourcing plan, the group said, would help increase local jobs. The manufacturers last month said 3,500 workers lost their jobs after three PPE factories closed due to lack of government purchases. — Jenina P. Ibanez
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