PNP to apprehend sellers of overpriced face masks amid Taal eruption
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police (PNP) will apprehend those who are selling overpriced face masks amid the ash explosion of Taal Volcano.
PNP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac said on Tuesday that the police have not yet apprehended any sellers of overpriced masks, but he encouraged the public to report to them any incident of overpriced selling.
“Kung mayroon po tayong matagpuan o matunghayan na sino mang nagbebenta ng overpriced na mga face or surgical masks, maari po na idulog agad sa PNP o ipaabot sa atin upang agad ay ating respondihan at ito ay pagpaliwanagin natin sa presinto,” Banac said in a press conference in Camp Crame.
Police may file charges against sellers of overpriced face masks under Republic Act No. 7581 or the Price Act, he added.
“Yes, they will be invited and asked to explain in our police stations. If evidence warrants, charges may be filed,” the PNP official said.
Prices of face masks or N95 masks reportedly skyrocketed to as high as P200 each from its usual price of P25 to P30.
Demand for N95 masks surged after Taal Volcano belched a giant column of ash and steam on Sunday afternoon, causing extensive ashfall that reached as far as Metro Manila and some provinces in northern Luzon a few hours later.
Even Mercury Drug, the biggest medicinal supply chain in the country, has run out of supply of face masks and is working to replenish its stock.
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) earlier warned that it will file administrative and criminal charges against “unscrupulous business entities and individuals, who capitalize on the consumers’ urgent need for their own profit.”
DTI said prices of manufactured basic necessities and prime commodities should remain unchanged as of the published September 31, 2019, DTI Suggested Retail Price Bulletin.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.