Duterte orders face masks, assistance for Taal, warns traders against increasing prices of essential goods

Published January 13, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Genalyn Kabiling

President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered swift relief assistance to people displaced by Taal Volcano’s escalating unrest, including the distribution of face masks to those affected.

Residents of Talisay,  Batangas wait a military to evacuate on safer ground a day after the Taal Volcano erupted.(photo by ali vicoy)
Residents of Talisay, Batangas wait for a military to evacuate on the safer ground a day after the Taal Volcano erupted (Ali Vicoy / MANILA BULLETIN)

Traders have also been warned against unfairly increasing prices of face masks and other essential goods amid the latest calamity or else risk penalties, Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said.

“President Duterte has instructed government agencies to ensure that those affected by the eruption will be given assistance. He has also ordered the Department of Health (DOH) to provide face masks especially to those who are in the affected areas,” Andanar said in a statement Monday.

“With reports on overpricing of face and gas masks in different retail and outlet stores due to the demand brought by the calamity, we and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) remind all business enterprises to abide by the suggested retail prices. Otherwise, penalties will be imposed to the fullest extent of the law for those who do not follow.”

The same warning applies to the pricing of manufactured basic necessities and prime commodities, he added.

In the wake of the increased volcanic activity of Taal, Duterte recently mobilized concerned government agencies to ensure the safety of people, particularly in moving them out of the danger zone.

Authorities earlier warned of a possible hazardous eruption of Taal Volcano amid its escalating volcanic activity since Sunday.

Taal woke from its years of slumber with a phreatic (steam-driven) eruption last Sunday, unleashing an ash column and triggering volcanic quakes. Thousands of residents have been advised to evacuate.

Andanar appealed anew to the public to remain vigilant and cooperate with authorities for their own safety. “We continue to remind everyone, especially those affected by the Taal Volcano unrest as it continuously displays eruptive activities, to heed the call of and coordinate with relevant government agencies. This is for everyone’s safety and security as we continue to deploy needed services and to respond to areas affected by this unfortunate event.”

With the heavy ashfall and quakes recorded, Andanar also urged the public to take safety precautions to prevent health problems arising from the hazardous emissions and tremors.