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With lots of the hospitals and other medical facilities facing shortages of medical supplies to combat the Covid-19 pandemic, more and more people are pooling resources,  to include creative and innovative skills to do their share and help.   After seeing reports of massive shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as facemask and face shields, the faculty of the Philippine Science High School (PSHS) – Ilocos Region Campus has realized their role and mission amid the pandemic Covid 19 threat- to make face shields! 

Using the machineries and equipment at the DTI Negosyo Center- Fabrication Laboratory and Co-Working Space, they started producing face shields, aerosol boxes and triage boxes. 

Dubbed as “PisAYUDA: Siyensya para sa Bayan” all the PSHS with Fabrication Laboratory nationwide agreed to step up and help the frontliners fighting against Covid19. Ms. Ronna Ortaleza, Campus Director of PSHS-Ilocos Region Campus, said that part of their mandate as a fabrication laboratory is to use their facilities in fabricating needed materials during emergency situations. “This is our own little way of contributing to the shortage of face shields and alcohol. We’re turning our fablab into production facilities to make face shields so that medical professionals battling COVID-19 can safely continue protecting us.” she added. 

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The eight-man-team led by Engr. John Dee Mangoba collaborated to address the urgent need and started putting equipment such as 3-D Printers  and Laser Cutters to manufacture components of   face shields on March 23, 2020. Using these machines, protoypes were developed from raw materials such as acrylic sheet, filaments, acetate sheets, silicon tube for glass, mighty bond, and other materials. Face shields and aerosol boxes were then produced. They aimed to produce 1500 pieces of face shields,  aerosol boxes and a triage chamber. To date, 837 faceshields and 20 aerosol boxes have been produced and turned over at no cost to the medical frontliners of La Union Medical Center, Rosario District Hospital and Ilocos Training and Regional Medical Center. Apart from the medical equipment, they also maximized their laboratory to produce liters of alcohol.

The fabrication process was never a problem with the use of the high-tech machines. However, supply of raw materials has affected production due to the closure of establishments selling these materials. Maximizing the use of social media, they began crowdsourcing for suppliers of raw materials. An overwhelming support from different groups and individuals started to pour in. Volunteers and donors expressed their willingness to help and donated materials. The active General Parents Teachers Association also supported and sourced out materials. “Thank you to all the donors who unselfishly shared their resources in order for us to fabricate PPEs.” Ortaleza said. 

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The DTI NC-Fablab is a joint project by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Region 1 and PSHS- Ilocos Region Campus. Located inside the campus, the facility offers technical prototyping platform for ideation, innovation and invention to help in the landscape of entrepreneurship and craftsmanship not only in the province of Ilocos Sur but also in the region. Since its launching in 2016, it has enabled local designers in partnership with local MSMEs to come up with high value and high quality product prototypes before full-blown commercial production. 

The Fablab has been a home for hundreds of MSMEs and PSHS students who collaborated and shared their technical know-hows to improve product designs. Now, it has also transformed to a production facility with a bigger and noble purpose. 

Editor’s Note:

The PSHS-Ilocos Region Campus is still in need of materials (acetate/ PVC sheets and mighty bonds to produce additional PPEs. Kindly contact Ms. Ronna Ortaleza at 0998568740. 

Date of Release: 1 April 2020