During an emergency council meeting held at the Manila Room of the MMDA to address the effects of the recent Taal Volcano eruption to the region, Romulo Cabantac, who is also the concurrent Office of Civil Defense National Capital Region regional director, tapped local DRRM officers to assist the Council in monitoring the retail prices of the N95 mask within their respective areas of jurisdiction.
“By this way, we can help the Department of Trade and Industry NCR (DTI NCR) in preventing any overpricing of the personal protective equipment and at the same time protect consumer rights, health, and welfare,” Cabantac said.
“No one should be taking advantage of the surge in demand of these products due to the recent eruption,” he added.
Under the occupational safety and health classification system, a respirator with an “N” rating is effective in preventing particulate matter, such as ash from a volcano, from entering the body.
As of writing this article, Taal Volcano is still under Alert Level 4, which means a hazardous eruption may occur within days.
For her part, Metro Manila Center for Health Development Regional Director Corazon Flores reported that their agency has allotted an initial 5,000 pieces of N95 and 10,000 pieces of surgical masks which will be made available to local government units and DOH hospitals.
In an advisory issued the same day, the DTI said it “will not hesitate to file administrative and criminal charges against unscrupulous business entities and individuals who capitalize on the consumers’ urgent need for their own profit.”
It said that it had issued notice to all retailers, and have dispatched teams to monitor and observe movement of retail prices of respirators in the market.
“Those found to have unreasonably increased their prices for gas masks, face masks and other similar items, which act is tantamount to profiteering, shall be dealt with to the fullest extent of the law,” the DTI added. (PIA NCR)
By Jerome Carlo R. Paunan