Amid rising number of COVID-19 cases
Free face mask for all poor sectors – Anakpawis
Manila, Philippines – Amid rising number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Metro Manila, the Anakpawis Party-list called for the government to carry out mass distribution of free face mask for all poor sectors, as a doable and concrete step to oppose its spread among the population.
“While some government officials are chattering about locking down Metro Manila, the more important and urgent issue is to contain the spread of the virus, and a mass distribution of free face mask is feasible, especially to the poor sectors such as drivers, vendors, students, commuters, workers and others. They are the ones who don’t have the capacity to include this item on their daily budget,” Ariel “Ka Ayik” Casilao, Anakpawis Party-list former representative said in a press statement.
He said that alone the intelligence and confidential funds of the Office of the President amounting to P4.5 billion could supply the item for around half of Metro Manila population for months. The Department of Trade and Industry announced last month that the price of a face mask is around P8 to P16 per piece.
“Duterte’s intel and confidential funds alone could buy 281 to 562 million face masks, enough for half Metro Manila’s population at around 6.4 million for a month and a half to 3 months, if one per day is to be provided,” he said.
He added that as Duterte issued Proclamation 922 declaring the Public Health Emergency, he himself should rechannel his discretionary funds to public health or social services.
“Public health, especially an emergency should be urgently publicly funded. His declaration is useless if concrete steps that will benefit the people are hampered by issues of fund sourcing, when actually it is right there at his very office. Thus, we urge the people to support this call, free face mask for all poor sectors,” he ended. ###