Philippine flag-inspired PPEs, a Kagayanon fashion designer's tribute to frontliners

IT IS truly in times of crisis that people find ways to unite and come up with brilliant ideas to help and survive.

Despite the difference in their profession, Kagay-anon fashion designer and Queen of Mindanaoan Fashion Guela Ampong and Obstetrician Gynecologist Dr. Jamillah Watamama got together to design and create personal protective equipment for frontline healthcare workers in Cagayan de Oro City.

This PPE Drive of Guela and Watamama started when they learned of the lack of PPE supply in Cagayan de Oro, an equipment used by healthcare workers to reduce risks of occupational exposure to hazardous materials and biological contaminants.

PPEs act as a barrier between infectious materials such as viral and bacterial contaminants and a person's skin, mouth, nose, or eyes. These usually consist of standard precautions: gloves, mask or face shield, gown or coverall and head cover.

"Being a nurse myself, I know how important it is to have the right and enough supply of materials. Also, I have seen the clamor of our frontliners for supplies," Guela said.

"Our government/local government unit is trying its best to provide but I think it would be best if we, hand-in-hand, help our frontliners," she added.

According to Guela, the idea for the PPEs came from Watamama who came to her to talk about the pattern, designs and preferred cloth to be used in creating the PPEs.

Guela said that with the help of Watamama's friends, they came up with a donation drive: "Donate 1 PPE and save a frontliner," wherein individuals or groups may donate P500 which is equivalent to one PPE.

They are aiming to create at least 300 to 500 PPEs a week.

"As a designer, I think this is the best way to help our frontliners," Guela said.

She added that apart from the frontliners, the production will also help the seamstresses/tailors who have no work due to the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) threat.

Guela also designed a Philippine flag-inspired PPE, a tribute to the frontliners all over the country, which she gifted to Watamama.

She said each color in the PPE have meaning, which includes: Blue for peace, harmony, and unity as we are now on each other's back, helping one another to survive; Red for war against the unseen enemy, Covid-19, wherein many Filipinos have succumbed to death due to this fight; Yellow for resiliency and hope that this crisis will soon end; and White for purity as each Filipino has the pure heart to offer there service and compassion towards their fellowmen and country.

"As shown in history, we, Filipinos, are survivors in times of calamities, be it man-made or natural, as well as centuries of colonization. They all cannot tremble the Filipino spirit," Guela said.

"This is a crucial moment to stand as one nation and to awaken the Bayanihan Spirit of every one of us Filipinos," she added.

So far, the PPEs are distributed to the frontliners at the Northern Mindanao Medical Center.


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