By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
Malacañang warned those who are taking advantage of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) situation in the country by hoarding vital commodities and selling them at very high prices that they will be arrested.
Unscrupulous traders were reported to be hoarding supplies like face masks and alcohols and selling them beyond their regular prices.
“The Office of the President hereby gives warning to those hoarding vital commodities, which create a hike in the prices, as well as selling them beyond their regular prices, that their actions will be dealt with accordingly in pursuance of public safety and order,” presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said.
“Those who unscrupulously take advantage of the health crisis will also be arrested and dealt with in accordance with law,” he added.
Panelo urged the media to not exaggerate reports as it may affect the mindset of the public.
“The Palace also reiterates its appeal to our countrymen to stay calm yet vigilant, as well as not to believe or spread any false information on COVID-19,” he said.
“The resort to hate messages or posts in social media channels and other platforms will do more harm than good, especially during this time which should be seen as an opportunity for the Filipinos to unite in the face of the health threat,” he added.
“We similarly ask media outlets to refrain from exaggerating or amplifying reports that may only affect the mindset of the public and instead help in disseminating helpful tips on how to prevent the spread of the virus,” he added.
The Palace official, meanwhile, reminded the public to observe and practice the protocols on personal hygiene and social distancing established by the Department of Health (DOH) to help contain the disease.
He also assured the public that the Office of the President was undertaking all necessary and appropriate measures to contain the virus and protect the people from being contaminated.
Panelo on Wednesday appealed to the public to “buy only what they need” following reports of panic-buying of hygiene supplies due to the threat of COVID-19 which was recently declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO).
“The Palace appeals to our people to buy only what they need. There are reports of panic-buying in some supermarkets, groceries, or pharmacies. This would only result in undue hoarding and price increases,” he said.
“We cannot stress enough the importance of everyone’s cooperation during this time. Let us not circulate unverified information that may only cause unnecessary anxiety among the members of our respective communities and instead maintain good hygiene and observe proper etiquette at all times,” he added.
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has assured the public that the country has ample supply of essential items.