CLARK FREEPORT -- A Japanese firm here has produced at least 10 million pieces of face masks for the last two months after quarantine restrictions have been relaxed and more personnel were permitted to go to work.
Yokoisada (Phils.) Corporation has already reached its maximum capacity for the months of May and June, although the firm is still in need of 80 more factory workers to complete its target of 300 workers, for its plans to further expand operations here.
The face masks being made in Clark use non-woven fabric and ear-looped raw materials, to lessen reliance on raw materials from China.
In a recent interview with Yokoisada President Yuki Yokoi, the firm's decision to expand in Clark was driven by strong support from government agencies -- the Department of Trade and Industry, the Board of Investments, Clark Development Corporation, and the Philippine Consulate General in Osaka -- during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.
With support from the government, Yokoisada managed to quickly get their production facilities back on track to meet the Philippine and international requirements.
Yokoi also cited successful operations in the country for the past years and the goal to contribute to Philippine society as a reason for expanding.
"We appreciate Yokoisada's vote of confidence in the Philippine business environment. The Philippine government stands ready to assist and facilitate their investments in our country. This investment will plug a big hole in our country's current mask production supply chain, and help ensure a more reliable supply of masks during pandemics," said Emmanuel Ang, commercial counsellor in the Philippine Consulate General in Osaka.
Yokoi said the manufactured face masks will be distributed to various Philippine hospitals and other pharmaceutical firms to supply shortened demand and prevent the spread of Covid-19.
"Currently, the firm has more than 170 workers, with 250 to 300 more workers anticipated once expansion of operations in Clark pushes through," Accounting Manager Ella Pusin said.
Pusin said they still need 80 workers to maintain the high quality of face masks being manufactured by the company.