In a local scope, the Iloilo Provincial Government raised concerns about the limited supply of PPEs within the province. In an effort to address the demand, local executives opted to acquire materials and enlist the help of dressmakers all over the region. Ilonggo fashion designers also rose to the challenge to produce PPEs for the local medical frontliners.
For Nurse Pe, it brings him joy seeing fellow designers use their craft and passion to help flatten the curve. When asked about his works’ instant popularity, “never did we imagine our colorful PPEs would attract so much attention and praise from people.” He also believes that his colorful hazmat suits help ease his colleagues’ stress, making them feel young and hopeful.
Even with a collective effort to help, these designers also have their own difficulties and challenges. Sourcing the materials to make PPEs is a major obstacle. Due to the lockdown, businesses had to temporarily shut down including the local textile shops. Nurse Pe shared that he had to purchase textiles from Manila with help from the Philippine Coast Guard. Mr. Silva found it a challenge coordinating and distributing work to his team of six seamstresses, all of whom work from home, and one driver. Even with these difficulties, they still managed to deliver.
When asked about the state of the response to the pandemic, Nurse Pe admitted that he’s often saddened by the news of the rising death toll of health workers due to the global PPE shortage. He admits that the adversity motivated him to bring out the best in what he does and fuse his passion and profession. As we ease into the new normal, Mr. Silva encourages people to be hopeful and appreciate life even more. He believes that everything could disappear in a snap and we should enjoy every bit of life while we can.
Not all heroes wear capes; or rather in this case, they don’t wear medical white.