P15 million worth of alcohol, face masks seized in crackdown vs hoarding, overpricing

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 31 2020 04:44 PM

A grocery in Quezon City stocks up on hygiene products like alcohol on February 16, 2020. Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Authorities confiscated some P15 million worth of medical supplies as part of a crackdown against hoarding and profiteering during the COVID-19 lockdown of Luzon, the trade department said Tuesday.

Rubbing alcohol, hand sanitizers, face masks and thermal scanners were seized in 62 operations from March 18 to March 28, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said in a statement. A total of 129 were arrested for hoarding and overpricing.

“When violators raise the price of basic necessities by even just a few pesos, hundreds, even thousands of Filipinos are heavily affected. That is why we ask for the cooperation of all retailers to strictly abide by the directives of the national government,” Lopez said.

Stocks of the essentials in preventing COVID-19 will normalize soon, he said.

Anyone found violating the Price Act could be fined from P5,000 to P2 million fine and could be jailed for 5 to 15 years, the DTI said.