MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) assures the pubic that there is enough supply of basic commodities in the country.
DTI Undersecretary Ruth Castelo said despite the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), productions and manufacture of primary goods are continuous.
Therefore, the DTI official said there is no reason for the public to rush on a panic buying spree because supplies are sufficient even if the situation gets worse.
“Kung sakaling magla-lockdown ang (In case of a lockdown in) Metro Manila, we have sufficient supply,” Castelo said.
“Maraming commissaries and warehouse ng manufacturers natin ang nandito and retailers, (We have a number of commissaries and warehouses, manufacturers here as well as retailers),” she added.
The DTI and the group of supermarkets have agreed to limit the sale of basic commodities especially alcohol solutions to two bottles per customer.
The Philippine Amalgamated Supermarkets Association has advised their members to keep eye on hoarders.
“Unless ipaligo mo ang alcohol hindi mo kailangan ng 10 bote kung ikaw lang or a family of 5 dahil sa kamay lang naman ginagamit, (Unless your plan to bathe in alcohol, you don’t need 10 bottles for yourself or for a family of five because you only use it on your hands),” Castelo said.
The official added that households may stock food and other basic needs enough for seven to ten days to minimize coming in contact with crowds in markets and to keep safe from contracting the disease.
Castelo reminds merchants, meanwhile, that a nationwide price freeze on basic commodities is in effect following President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of a public health emergency.
The DTI warns merchants against taking advantage of the situation as they could face profiteering charges under the Provisions of R.A. No. 7581, otherwise known as the “Price Act.”
“Puwede sigurong ibaba ng retailer kung sa tingin nila pwedeng mabawasan ang profit nila pero hindi nila pwedeng itaas, (Retailers may lower the price if they agree to lower their profit but they cannot mark up),” the DTI official said.
Castelo calls on the public to let health care workers benefit from the use of personal protective equipment (PPEs) like face masks as they are the ones in the frontline and the first to be exposed to coronavirus infection. MNP (with details from Rey Pelayo)
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