By Aaron Recuenco
The Joint Task Force Corona Virus (JTF CV) Shield vowed on Saturday to intensify their operations against businessmen and other people who take advantage of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) situation by hoarding disinfectants, masks, and other items and selling them at a much higher price.
Police Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, JTF CV Shield commander, said such a business malpractice is not only a violation of the existing laws but also the guidelines set by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).
“There have been a lot of complaints of supply shortage of alcohol and face masks because some people hoard them and sell them by at least double of the original price. This practice must stop,” Eleazar said.
“This is the time that we are supposed to be helping each other out. This is not the time to take advantage of other people using this crisis. These people who take advantage of COVID-19 fear must be taught a lesson,” he added.
Gen. Archie Gamboa, chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), earlier alerted his men about the complaints on hoarding. He appealed to the public to report any kind of aggravated act of taking advantages in selling medical goods and sanitary items in times of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We need your cooperation onto this campaign and the PNP remains alert and vigilant to ensure public order and safety,” said Gamboa.
“We will continuously intensify our operation against personalities who take advantage in these trying times of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Eleazar said Gamboa himself instructed his commanders to intensify the operations against hoarders and those who take advantage of the COVID-19 problem.
Eleazar added that intelligence-gathering was already intensified to identify these miscreants not only in Luzon but also in other parts of the country.
On Friday, three people were arrested for allegedly hoarding alcohol and selling them in a higher price. They were identified as stockman Jeffrey Zapanta and bartender Albert Mandap.
Seized from them were 83 pieces of Gentle Care Ethyl Alcohol 500mL being sold at PhP140 and 48 pieces of Cucumber Fresh Ethyl Alcohol 1Liter being sold at PhP250. The price ceiling for the two items were P61 to P74.25 respectively.
The third suspect, Evangeline Endozo, was collared for selling overpriced alcohol– P60ml alcohol for P80. Endozo is a saleslady of JKOS Medical Supplies and Equipment, Inc.
Eleazar, who used to head the Anti-Cybercrime Group (ACG), said that based their monitoring, some of the transactions happen online where some people would advertise the availability of the products they hoarded using social media accounts.
In fact, two of the three people arrested earlier were selling overpriced alcohol online.
“We have further intensified the online monitoring and we assure the public that we will run after these people,” Eleazar said.
He added that netizens could report hoarders and opportunist resellers to the police through the PNP’s social media accounts.
JTF hotlines, email
Eleazar said the JTF CV Shield has created hotlines and email accounts to which the public can report their complaints on ECQ-related concerns.
For Globe subscribers, the JTF CV Shield hotline is 0917-538-2495, while for Smart it’s 0998-849-0013.
The JTF also has a landline hotline—02-8725-3176. The email address is [email protected]
JTF CV Shield is composed of officials and personnel of the PNP, Philippine Coast Guard, Bureau of Fire Protection, and the military. It is the implementing arm of the government’s Inter-Agency Task Force in ensuring that quarantine guidelines are strictly followed.