FabLabs to surmount COVID crisis
April 20, 2020
MAKATI CITY – The
Department of Trade and Industry-Regional Operations Group (DTI-ROG),
spearheaded by Undersecretary Blesila Lantayona, and DTI-Region 7
have activated its network of fabrication laboratories (FabLabs) in
Central Visayas to produce personal protective equipment (PPEs) in
the fight against the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
A team of volunteers,
faculty members and staff at school-based FabLabs in the region have
designed and produced personal protective equipment to contribute to
the much-needed supply of PPEs in the region.
Central Visayas has eight
FabLabs three located in Bohol, Negros Oriental and Siquijor, and
five in Cebu.
“As of April 16 this year,
FabLabs in Central Visayas have produced 24,358 face shields, 4,093
cloth face masks, 359 medical gowns, and 20 aerosol boxes. All eight
fablabs in Central Visayas have been busy for the past month
producing PPEs,” Philippines’ FabLab Champion and DTI-Region 7
Assistant Regional Director Maria Elena Arbon reported.
Arbon also said that
FabLabs in Central Visayas are part of a network of FabLabs in the
Philippines working closely together with their stakeholders, and
partners in both government and private sectors, to respond to the
needs amid the pandemic outbreak in our country.
“Overall, Fablabs in the
Philippines produced 46,055 face shields, 23,104 cloth face masks,
1,201 medical gowns, and 217 aerosol boxes as of April 16, 202. We
are still accepting donations of raw materials for the production of
the PPEs,” said Arbon.
Director Arbon encourages
everyone to visit the following google site, https://tinyurl.com/FablabPHResponse,
to link themselves to a FabLab near their vicinity and ask for any
assistance that the laboratory can do. This is also a way for local
suppliers of raw materials to get in touch with FabLabs in their
area so these facilities can continue with the mass production.
Secretary Asteria Caberte, who pushed for the funding of the project
and boosted morale of volunteers, informed the public that FabLabs
are not the only DTI-assisted programs responding to the COVID
“We have DTI assisted
MSMEs such as Uniform Solutions, Tubigon Loomweavers Multi-purpose
Cooperative, LAMAC Multi-purpose Cooperative and Alter to Enhance
Clothier that are also mass producing cloth face masks. These
cooperatives and business enterprises are repurposing their
manufacturing capacity to meet local demand. We have always
encouraged those we have assisted to exercise their corporate
responsibility and give back to the community in whatever way they
can,” Asec. Caberte added.
A fabrication laboratory
is a technical prototyping platform for innovation and invention
that allows local manufacturers and creatives to make prototypes and
products such as equipment, machinery and electronic gadgets; create
scale models, illustrate graphic designs and mass-produce products,
among others. A fab lab is typically equipped with an array of
flexible computer-controlled tools that cover several different
length scales and various materials, with the aim to make "almost
FabLabs in the Philippines
are closely aligned with the global open-source maker culture, and
the free and open-source movement, and shares philosophy as well as
technology with them.
The International FabLab
Network is an open, creative community of fabricators, artists,
scientists, engineers, educators, students, amateurs, professionals,
of all ages located in more than 90 countries in approximately 1,500
FabLabs. From community based labs to advanced research centers, Fab
Labs share the goal of democratizing access to the tools for
technical invention and product innovation.