(l-r: Ms. Emma Sarne, Division Director on socio-economic issues, Department of Foreign Affairs; Undersecretary Mario Villaverde of the Department of Health; and Mr. Titon Mitra, Resident Representative of UNDP Philippines)


Metro Manila, 8 July 2020 – United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Philippines Resident Representative Titon Mitra formally handed over 500,000 medical masks to Undersecretary Mario Villaverde of the Department of Health (DOH) to support the on-going efforts to protect frontline healthcare workers as the country continues to fight the COVID-19 outbreak. The ceremony was witnessed by Emma Sarne, Division Director handling socio-economic issues, of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
The donation, estimated to be worth 8.5 million pesos, came from the Soong Ching Ling Foundation and was facilitated by UNDP Philippines and UNDP China, in coordination with both the Philippine Embassy in Beijing and the DFA.
“With the rising number of confirmed COVID-19 cases all over the country, healthcare workers are at a high risk of contracting communicable diseases. With the steady supply of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) like medical masks, we are helping ensure that these frontline workers who are risking their lives day in and day out are well-looked after too. Their courage should never be understated,” said Mr. Mitra.
Undersecretary Villaverde, on behalf of DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III, formally accepted the donation and noted that DOH “commits to using the masks to protect the most vulnerable populations during the pandemic.”
Undersecretary Villaverde closed his message by stating that “with such dedicated allies, we are optimistic that we have the strength to rise above this crisis.”
The masks will be distributed by the DOH to a number of hospitals all over the Philippines.


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