The Department of Trade Industry (DTI) regional office on Wednesday urged the public to report any person selling overpriced face masks online.
DTI 11 assistant regional director Edwin Banquerigo said anyone who are taking advantage of the situation due to 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) should be penalized whether the profiteering is done online or in the physical market.
“This is really the time that we should work together, this is really the time that we should help each other,” he said.
Banquerigo said the DTI 11 need the complaints coming from the people since it is hard for them to monitor who are selling online than the ‘physical’ business establishments such as pharmacies and stores.
“Probably, online distribution is also another are that we should look into,” he said.
He said if there are complains that will lodged, their office will immediately act on the case.
“Consumers should be vigilant,” he said.
Banquerigo said if the consumer is already educated with the price in the market, then they should already make a move to stop the profiteering.
There has been a howl of protest on social media about the overpriced surgical masks as some people are selling it at P250 per box containing 50 pieces compared to the original price of P75 a box in drugstores.
Based on Department of Health Memorandum No. 2020 – 0005 issued on January 14, 2020, the suggested retail price of Disposable Face Mask is P1.10 up to P8.00.
Major drugstores in the country and wholesalers have been running out of stocks and have reordered more stocks to refill their inventories, but these were again depleted fast last week with the surge in demand. They were asked to increase their reordering quantities.
As of last Friday, Watsons still had stocks and their inventories were deployed nationwide, while Mercury and SouthStar drugstores and most wholesalers ran out of stock. They reported that there will be incoming stocks this week.
The DTI central office already talked local producer of masks, MedTecs, that is based in Bataan and they committed to supply the government, through the DTI of 100,000 pieces this week and 400,000 pieces per week thereafter.
It said the supplier can commit to supply Philippines around 2 million pieces a month, until this quantity is needed.
While they produce on a limited capacity of 80,000 pieces a day, MedTecs is now airfreighting more machines to increase their production capacity.