A craft shop more known for its native bags and traditional toys has added personal protective equipment (PPE) to its array of products.
Subida Souvenirs, an enterprise based in Valencia, Negros Oriental, Central Visayas, has joined the nationwide campaign against the COVID-19 pandemic armed with cutting edge technology—a laser cutting machine which the firm acquired via the DOST’s Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (SETUP).
Subida Souvenirs got involved when on March 23, 2020 the DOST Provincial S&T Center tapped its owner, Michael Alano, to make sample acrylic fasteners for a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) face shield using bamboo frame.
The PSTC was then already collaborating with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Provincial Office, the Negros Oriental State University (NORSU) Fab Lab, and the Negros Oriental Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (NOCCI) in a joint initiative to mass produce face shields.
After making the samples, Mr. Alano then showed his own version of a DIY acrylic face shield. This version could be made fast and cheap using the laser cutter.
Subida was immediately drafted into the local PPE production effort. DTI, NOCCI and some private donors (through the PSTC) supplied the materials and some funds for the labor cost.
With Alano’s wife January pitching in and six (6) workers busy as bees, the firm was able to make about 4,000 face shields in less than two weeks. These were then distributed to various hospitals and government health offices in the province, just in time before the province-wide Enhanced Community Quarantine took effect on April 3.
But for the Alano couple, the mission was not over. A new challenge cropped up—fabricating a transparent aerosol box needed by doctors during the intubation of COVID-19 patients. Michael Alano found a design online and improved on it. Using the laser cutter, the Subida team cut out components from the acrylic sheets provided by the government. They then assembled the parts to make two aerosol boxes. These were provided to the Silliman University Medical Center and the Ace Dumaguete Doctors Hospital, where they were put to good use.
Not bad for an entrepreneurial couple and their crew who, prior to COVID-19, were just happy making and selling souvenirs for tourists. Not bad at all. (GRA)