taal eruption
In a statement, the DTI said it dispatched teams to monitor and observe movement of retail prices of face masks in the market.
The STAR/Edd Gumban

DTI orders crackdown on businesses raising face mask prices

Ian Nicolas Cigaral (Philstar.com) - January 13, 2020 - 4:15pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Trade and Industry on Monday warned businesses against raising the prices of face masks and gas masks amid high demand due to ash fall from the erupting Taal Volcano, south of Manila.

In a statement, the DTI said it dispatched teams to monitor and observe movement of retail prices in the market.

The Trade department likewise stressed that prices of basic necessities and prime commodities remain unchanged from the Retail Price Bulletin published on Sept. 30, 2019.

“Those found to have unreasonably increased their prices for gas masks, face masks and other similar items, which act is tantamount to profiteering, shall be dealt with to the fullest extent of the law,” The DTI said.

“DTI will not hesitate to file administrative and criminal charges against unscrupulous business entities and individuals who capitalize on the consumers’ urgent need for their own profit,” it added.

Taal Volcano on Sunday spewed ash, rumbled with earthquakes and exploded with lightning above its crest, sending thousands of people living nearby to evacuation centers.

A "hazardous explosive eruption is possible within hours to days." the nation's seismological agency warned.

Manila Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna-Pangan said Monday prices of face masks in the capital jumped by as high as P200 apiece amid high demand as ash pours over parts of Luzon.

Ash from the volcano can irritate the skin, nose and eyes.

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