Mayor Sara Duterte has reiterated her call for residents of the city to refrain from hoarding food.
In a phone interview with the Davao City Disaster Radio on Tuesday, the city mayor said they received reports of people hoarding rice.
“The other it was banana. They are doing it everyday already. Everyday they are panic-buying different products,” she said.
Previously, it was reported that the price of banana sold in the market went up from its regular selling rates following the information spreading on social media that it can cure or prevent COVID-19.
The mayor said hoarding rice will only result in the infestation of weevils (bukbok) on it.
“We would like to remind the Davaoeños to stop your panic buying because those that you have hoarded are perishable products. Banana is perishable. Rice possibly (will be infested by weevils) perishable,” she said.
She said the city government is not imposing any restrictions on the purchase of goods.
“We allow people to come out to buy food. We also understand that it is a need of the people we have asked to stay home. So we allow people to buy food,” Duterte said.
On March 15, the city government issued Executive Order No. 10 Series of 2020 mandating people to stay in their homes, only to come out when going to work, buy food or medicines, go to hospitals or take out the garbage.
“In no way we will get to the point where we will have say to people not go out of their homes regardless if you have food or not. It will not happen,” the city mayor stressed.
The people who are panicking, Duterte said, must understand that there is no reason for them to hoard things in their homes. “Because the government will always think about your needs and adjust our health protocols according to the basic needs of our fellow Davaoeños,” she said.
Meanwhile, the mayor suspects that there is an individual behind the panic-buying of banana.
“One of the things during our brainstorming is that we suspect that there is a trader of banana who created this (situation) because he could not get rid of his supply,” she said.
“That is the case. Some will be creating a situation to cause people to panic,” Duterte added, noting that there had been no claims from authorized health organizations that banana can help.
“You will wonder why is there a material out there saying that we need to buy banana. So it must be that someone is manipulating the disposal of banana products,” she said.
The city mayor pointed out that there is no need to panic because the government is thinking about the welfare of the public.
“All possible problem that may happen, it is already being considered by the government. We have infectious disease doctors. We consult about the questions on health and then we have Task Force COVID-19 that thinks about the needs and run around challenges,” she said.
“If we have roadblocks, they (authorities) are considering what to do about the roadblocks so we can continue with our prevention of the spread of the infection and, at the same time, for us to continue with our livelihood, that is why there is no need to panic,” the mayor added.
Duterte said the public needs to practice discipline because she does not want it to reach a situation where the government has to arrest people and raid warehouses.