Taiwan groups donate face masks to Philippines

Taiwanese Compatriot Association in the Philippines donate masks to local health department. 

Taiwanese Compatriot Association in the Philippines donate masks to local health department.  (CNA photo)

Two Taiwanese groups in the Philippines have donated urgently needed surgical face masks to the national government, in addition to a local Manila hospital to help in the fight against the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19).

The Taiwanese Compatriot Association in the Philippines (TCAP) handed over 5,000 surgical face masks to the Philippines Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday. TCAP Supervisor Edison Lin (林坤城) said the group was committed to donating a total of 10,000 surgical masks to the Philippines in two batches due to supply issues.

The donations are aimed at assisting the Philippines in its battle against the coronavirus and promoting goodwill between the people of Taiwan and the Philippines, Lin said.

TCAP Vice President Jack Hsieh (謝嘉卿) told CNA that the coronavirus outbreak had significantly impacted the lives of people in the Philippines, including Taiwanese businessmen--especially in metro Manila. "Everyone is confined at home due to the community quarantine measures," said Hsieh, who runs a Taiwanese fast food chain in the Philippines.

"We can't work. Workers who receive their salary on a weekly basis and have no savings may run short of cash soon.", he stated. Hsieh continued, mentioning that Taiwanese businessmen in the Philippines were doing their best to help.

"For instance, our company has just distributed food packs and other daily necessities to our employees," Hsieh professed.

Meanwhile, the Taiwanese Association Philippines, a group of Taiwanese businessmen, on Tuesday (March 31) donated 10,000 surgical masks to the Philippine General Hospital, one of the medical facilities designated by the government as a coronavirus treatment center. The donations by these two Taiwanese groups come at a time when the Philippines is facing a serious shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) for medical workers, as the coronavirus continues to wreak havoc in the archipelago nation.

According to CNN, at least 17 doctors on the frontlines of the COVID-19 battle in the Philippines had died as of March 31, with the Philippine Medical Association (PMA) citing a lack of protective equipment as one of the possible reasons. As of Thursday, the Philippines had reported over 2,300 confirmed cases and 96 deaths from the coronavirus.