The government plans to distribute 20 million reusable face masks produced in the next two months to the country’s poorest, according to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

DTI will work with micro, small and medium-sized enterprises and cooperatives to produce these masks after President Rodrigo R. Duterte ordered agencies to give these to the public for free, Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez told ABS-CBN Teleradyo on Thursday.

Families that get subsidies from the Social Welfare department will become the initial beneficiaries, he said, adding that the Budget department would bid out the project. The government might tap several suppliers for the deal.

Mr. Lopez added that he wanted to ensure that face mask sewers are paid on a per-piece basis.

The agency will reach out to women’s cooperatives and communities that have been using sewing machines under DTI’s shared service facility, which allows small entrepreneurs to use shared equipment.

The Office of the President in a memo on Wednesday ordered the Trade, Health, Budget and Social Welfare departments as well as the Presidential Management Staff and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority to produce and distribute face masks to the public for free.

The Health and Trade departments will determine minimum quality standards for the face masks, according to the order. — Jenina P. Ibañez