Senators call out sellers overpricing face masks amid Taal ashfall
MANILA, Philippines — At least two senators on Monday called out retailers who have reportedly jacked up the prices of face masks, which residents have been scrambling to purchase after Taal Volcano spewed ash Sunday afternoon.
“We should not allow anybody to take advantage of the current difficult situation brought about by the Taal Volcano eruption by increasing the price of needed goods and materials (like face masks),” Senator Aquilino Pimentel III said in a statement.
“Abuses such as these, which are violations of The Price Act, can be directly reported to my office,” Pimentel, chair of the Senate trade committee, added.
Senator Grace Poe, likewise, frowned on the increased prices of face masks.
“Ngayon na may kalamidad, huwag dapat maging mapagsamantala, sa halip nga, ay dapat umiral ang kabayanihan tulad ng ginagawa rin ng marami nating kababayan,” Poe, who heads the Senate public services committee, said in a message to reporters.
(Now that there is a calamity, we should not take advantage, instead we should be helping one another).
“Siguro dapat bantayan ng DTI (Department of Trade and Industry) ang presyo ng mga bilihin na kailangan ng ating mga kababayan ngayon,” she added.
(I think the DTI should monitor the prices of goods and commodities that the public are in need of now).
Poe also urged public hospitals and local government units to distribute face masks to areas affected by the ashfall.
“Ang mga public hospitals at LGU ay maaari rin mamahagi ng masks at unahin ang mga bata, senior citizens at may mga kapansanan,” she said.
(Public hostpitals and LGUs can distribute masks, especially to kids, senior citizens and those who are handicapped).
“Makakatulong kung may direktiba ang DOH (Department of Health), DTI at DILG (Department of Interior and Local Government),” she added.
(Directives coming from the DOH, DTI and DILG can help also with the situation).
The DOH has earlier warned the public of possible health risks due to exposure to volcanic ash.
Taal Volcano is currently on Alert Level 4 which means that “hazardous explosive eruption is possible within hours to days,” according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs).
Ashfall from Taal, the country’s secon-most-active-volcano, affected nearby provinces and has reached as far as Quezon City.
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