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DTI eyes ration sales of face masks as demand surges

January 14, 2020 - Tuesday 12:01 AM by PNA

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MANILA -- Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said his department will suggest to the retailers to limit sales of face and gas masks per customer as demand surges due to the eruption of Taal Volcano.

Social media users posted that N95 masks were immediately out of stock in some stores in Bambang, which is known for selling medical supplies and equipment, as ash fall from volcanic eruption reached Metro Manila.

It is advisable to use N95 face mask that properly covers mouth and nose that helps in preventing to breathe hazardous air particles coming from the ash fall.

Inconsistent prices of N95 masks were also reported. Some stores did not change the prices at around PHP40 per mask, while others increased their prices to PHP100 apiece.

In a message to reporters Monday, Lopez said some retailers jacked up prices of face and gas masks due to higher demand of the products.

“The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) hereby issues notice to all retailers that we have dispatched teams to monitor and observe movement of retail prices in the market,” Lopez said.

“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,” he added.

Meanwhile, the DTI chief reminded retailers that prices of basic goods and commodities shall remain stable.

“DTI will not hesitate to file administrative and criminal charges against unscrupulous business entities and individuals who capitalize on the consumers’ need for their own profit,” Lopez said.

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