By Danny Estacio and Richa Noriega
CALAMBA CITY, Laguna – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon) responded to reports that some retailers have jacked- up their prices of face masks and gas masks, taking advantage of the surge in demand of these products due to the recent eruption of Taal Volcano.
The agency issued a notice to all retailers that it has already teams to monitor and observe the movement of retail prices in the market, particulary in the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon.
In Lucena City, there were reports of shortage of face masks like N95, and surgical masks and some retailers increasesc of price up to P200.
A popular pharmacy chain of pharmacy was also noted to have informed customers that it had already ran out of stock of the masks early Monday.
DTI warned that those who would be found to have unreasonably increased their prices for gas masks, face masks and other similar items could be charged with profiteering and shall be dealt with to the fullest extent of the law.
Prices of manufactured basic necessities and prime commodities shall likewise remain unchanged as of the published September 31, 2019 DTI Suggested Retail Price Bulletin, the agency added.
DTI will not hesitate to file administrative and criminal charges against unscrupulous business entities and individuals who capitalize on the consumers’ urgent need for their own profit.
Ash fall affecting in the towns of Pagbilao, Lucban, Tayabas City, Lucena City and other towns in the Quezon 2nd district as reported.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) has earlier raised the alert status of Taal Volcano in Batangas to level 4 after the active volcano’s steam-driven explosion on Sunday afternoon.
The residents within the vicinity of the 14-kilometer radius of the volcano were advised to evacuate due to the “high risk of pyroclastic density currents and volcanic tsunami.”