MANILA – Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez on Friday appealed to the public against "panic buying" as Metro Manila prepared to go under quarantine for COVID-19, adding this could result in artificial shortages.
Lopez said the community quarantine will not block the flow of food and other essential supplies to the region during the 1-month long period. Passenger travel will be restricted from March 15 to April 14 while social distancing will be observed to prevent the spread of the disease.
"Wag mag panic buying dahil lalo ho talaga mag-artificial shortage, artificial pag may namamakyaw. 'Yan po ay siguradong marereplenish dahil maraming stocks ang mga manufacturers," Lopez said.
(Don't go panic buying since it could lead to an artificial shortage, artificial if there's hoarding. These will surely be replenished because our manufacturers have stocks.)
The government will also intensify its crackdown on profiteering and the sale of fake medical supplies, Lopez said.
The DTI tapped the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to identify businesses involved in overpricing, hoarding or illegal selling online, Lopez said.
"Ipapahanap namin kayo lalo na kung ang ibinebenta niyo mga medical products at illegal po 'yun. Unang una hindi kayo certified seller, hindi kayo drug store at ang ibinebenta niyo ay walang FDA seal," Lopez said.
(We will track you down, especially if what you are selling is illegal. You're not certified sellers, you're not drug stores and your merchandise lack the FDA seal.)
Lopez urged the public to stop buying illegal medical supplies online, which could be “fake" and ineffective against COVID-19.