Villagers in Catanduanes are working together in making washable face masks that can prevent the spread of the new coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in their town.

Marie Grace Molina of Barangay Cabugao in Bato town, initiated the “bayanihan” — which means working together for a common goal — because many of the locals are having difficulty in buying protective face masks.

“Nahiling ko kaya pagparibod ko uya kaso Friday, out of stock na ang mask, alcohol and even vitamin C, then ang face mask mahal na din sa online. Paano man yung mga pobre na maing capacity magbakal and if ikan man pambakal mai man ning mababakalan (When I arrived here on Friday, I observed that alcohol, mask and even vitamin C were out of stock and even online, it’s too expensive. How can an ordinary person buy such expensive mask?),” she told the Philippine News Agency in a phone interview.

Molina said they would distribute for free the washable face masks to villagers from Binanuahan, Marinawa, San Andres and Cabugao (BIMASANCA), with the help of volunteers.

“I decided to open my coin bank with PHP8,000 as an initial fund to buy essential materials in making washable face masks. I asked my sister to buy the materials which are already hard to find since we are on an island province,” she said.

Molina posted on her Facebook account a call for her relatives and friends to help in any means possible to make at least 10,000 washable face masks.

Kaye Traquena, one of Molina’s friends, sewed the face masks for free, together with her friends.

“I have a daughter that’s why I’m afraid that the virus may enter here in our province,” Traquena said in an interview.

Molina thanked the volunteers whom she called “heroes behind the scene”.

To date, the volunteers have distributed the face masks to the sick and the elderly in the villages as donations in kind keep pouring in.

Due to the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine, she said she picks up the masks done in several houses for distribution.

“They are just texting me if it is for pick-up and I will go to their houses. We need to follow the government in terms of quarantine. We will save a lot of lives by just staying at home,” she said. (Connie Calipay, PNA)

Top photo: ‘BAYANIHAN’ AMID COVID-19. Two elderly residents of Barangay Cabugao in Bato, Catanduanes, “Nanay Alice” and “Nanay Ines”, are among the volunteers in making washable face masks to be distributed to villagers for free. The initiative was the brainchild of Marie Grace Molina, one of the good Samaritans of the town. (Photo courtesy of Marie Grace Molina)