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Panic buying at local stores for hygiene products: CHO

There is indeed panic buying of alcohols and some hygiene products in pharmacies and supermarkets following the growing number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the country.

Dr. Josephine Villafuerte, City Health Office head, said on Thursday’s i-Speak media forum that they observed a shortage of alcohol and sanitary items in stores. “We can consider it as panic buying, since there have been insufficient supplies of alcohols wherever you go,” she said.

She said the CHO has been receiving reports regarding the shortage of rubbing alcohols, toilet papers, disinfectant sprays, and hand sanitizers. People are asking for supplies from their office, but they could only provide for their personnel, particularly those working on the field.

However, Villafuerte reminded the public to avoid relying on alcohol so much.

“If you don’t have alcohol because there has been a shortage of supply, then you can constantly wash your hands. The washing of hands is effective enough to disinfect your hands. Alcohols and sanitizers, as well as face masks, only last for 24 hours,” she said.

Soaps have been disregarded by many, Villafuerte said. She said that during her visit on some pharmacies, soaps are mostly not purchased. But she strongly urged the public to use soap and water for disinfection.

The Department of Trade and Industry, in a previous report, said that they are intensifying their monitoring activities to make sure that no one will take advantage of the Covid-19 threat to jack up their prices.

Deolly Roque, the division chief of the DTI’s Consumer Protection Division, said that they have monitoring teams that are going around the region. They are checking retail stores, business establishments, convenience stores, and shopping malls to determine any artificial price increases.
If ever there are violations, the penalties will vary, depending on the gravity of the violation. The fine, for instance, would range from P500 up to P300,000.

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