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Protecting the populace one mask at a time

The demand for personal protective equipment and other forms of protection has surged since the advent of COVID-19 pandemic. This has spurred companies to engage in the production of such protective gear, especially that the government now requires citizens to wear face masks to shield themselves from the virus.

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Unknown to many, a homegrown company has actually been manufacturing and selling N88 Surgical Face Mask, KN95 Face Mask, and Nitrile Surgical Gloves since 2019.
“We established RycorTech Corporation with an FDA License on Medical Device/Supplies Importation,” said company founder Jimmy Tan Sotelo, CFMP, CATA, CAEA, who currently sits as operation manager, along with his wife Felcor, RN, CFMP, who is the company’s chief operating officer.

The company was named after Sotelo’s sons’ names’ (Harry and Gregory) last syllable and his wife’s name’s last syllable (Cor)
“We added ‘Tech’ because we aim to continuously innovate and introduce technological advancement in the medical industry, ” he shared.

Prior to the establishment of RycorTech, they founded three other companies in the last eight years, namely, Crimson Advertising (billboard advertising), Oakbridge Institute (equity trading), and Anzen Industries (earthquake warning device and disaster supplies).

Sotelo established RycorTech with four other directors and staff who are medical and business professionals, namely, Trishia Jane T. Sotelo, MBA, CFMP, Julius Arcay, RN, Ida Camille Valles, RN, and Nikko Estarija.

The core organization is backed by just 15 employees. This includes a production staff, sales associates, in-house engineers, office staff and web developers, who maintain our website, rycortech.com. Online selling afforded their clients convenience and safe ordering method.

“The current situation with our import partners Malaysia and China urged us to enter this industry. When the coronavirus broke out last February, they started to ban importation on medical supplies in order to secure their own people first,” he divulged.

This gave RycorTech the idea of producing locally made face masks exclusively for Filipinos.

“Fortunately, we found out that these countries ban only the exportation of finished products, but not raw materials. So, we immediately purchased them, including machineries, for us to be a full-fledged face mask manufacturing plant,” said Sotelo.

Based on mask machine specification and production output, RycorTech can produce 70 face masks per minute, equivalent to 100,800 units for a 24-hour production. This can give Mindanaoans, or even the entire country, a stable supply of face masks even beyond this pandemic.

Being based in Davao City, it allows them to keep manufacturing cost at the minimum. In spite of the increasing cost of raw materials, they’re still able to deliver high quality face masks at 60% cheaper than the Department of Health regulated price.

However, RycorTech had to face various challenges in production, including compliance to rigorous regulatory policies and procedures. Importation of necessary materials also takes around 15 to 30 days to reach Davao port.

In addition, they are currently securing additional FDA License on manufacturing as it apparently requires a different license apart from our existing FDA License on Medical Devices/Supplies – a rigorous process that they need to comply with in these pressing times.

As to how the wearing of face masks will play a role post-pandemic, Sotelo believes that it will be “more than a norm but will become a part of the culture.”

“This crisis has taught us to be always on guard and not to be complacent especially on our healthcare system. This pandemic has become an acid test to our healthcare system, our own resources, and self-reliance,” Sotela said.

High quality Davao-made face masks 
A KN95 Face Mask manufactured by RycorTech
From Malaysia and China, the raw materials are delivered to their plant in Agdao

RycorTech founder and operations manager Jimmy Tan Sotelo

RycorTech uses state-of-the-art equipment to produce 4,200 masks per hour

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