April 2, 2023

From producing world-class handwoven fabrics, Narda’s Handwoven Arts and Crafts Weaving has shifted its focus only this time to producing personal protective equipment for medical frontline workers leading the battle against the coronavirus disease-2019.  

Narda’s Weaving has stepped in to produce PPEs, particularly coveralls or bunny suits and gowns, for medical frontline workers, who are the most vulnerable to the Covid-19. 

Narda’s director Lucia Catanes, daughter of the late Narda Capuyan, founder of world-renowned Narda’s Weaving, said as of April 7, her workers have produced 400 sets of PPEs and delivered 350 sets to the Baguio General Hospital, Benguet General Hospital, Pines City Doctors Hospital, Saint Louis University Hospital of the Sacred Heart, Notre Dame de Chartres Hospital, and Cordillera Hospital of the Divine Grace.

Consulting with her father and company president Wilson Capuyan, Catanes said they agreed the company must help out; her father is no stranger to reaching out to the community when he reached out too during the 1990 earthquake that heavily hit Baguio City.

First thing they did was to look for materials needed to make the PPEs on March 25 in Baguio, but none was available.

With the help of her friend Jane Lim of LLC Printworks in Manila, they were able to get confirmation of available materials. Lim then called back later to inform them that Jerry and Cassandra Yeo, who heard of their endeavor, donated 27 rolls with one roll composed of 100 yards.

When other friends and linkages heard about the company’s efforts, they donated more materials for the making of the PPEs.

Catanes’ friend, Jessie Lugtu of 12:24 Cargo Express, agreed to transport the materials from Manila for free. The textiles arrived on March 28.

“We were blessed with friends who knew suppliers and sold (the materials) to us at lower prices. Moreover, they were able to ask friends and family to donate materials,” Catanes said.

Production started on March 30 after samples sent to the Department of Health were approved.

“DOH-CAR has been very supportive and through coordination of Dr. Elizabeth Solang and other doctors, we are able to distribute the PPEs to hospitals in Baguio and Benguet,” she said.

In compliance with the enhanced community quarantine, the cutters and sewers who were willing to create the PPEs were housed at the Narda’s workshop at the Winaca Cultural Village in Acop, Tublay, Benguet.

“We asked our staff workers to stay at Winaca while production was ongoing. They go home once a week to be with their family and come back to the workshop following strict protocols which include hand washing, taking baths, wearing of masks, and physical distancing,” she said.

Outsiders were not allowed to go inside the workshop while production is ongoing in order not to put workers at risk.

“My dad supervised the production. I took care of sourcing of materials and coordination with DOH and other doctors for distribution. I also guide our staff in inventory procedures, as we will be sending reports to those who donated materials. Other materials, salaries, food, lodging and transportation are donated by Narda’s,” Catanes said.

Narda’s is receiving more requests for PPEs but she said it would be up to the DOH to determine the beneficiaries. For now it prioritizes health workers at risk at the various local hospitals. 

“Our main target is to make as many as we can using available materials,” she said. – Ofelia C. Empian