Pacquiao urges citizenry to report medicine hoarders and profiteers

Pacquiao urges citizenry to report medicine hoarders and profiteers

The DTI has warned against medicine hoarding and over-pricing. The photo above shows people queuing to purchase medicines at a local drug store in Metro Manila. (Photo courtesy by UNTV)

By Tracy Cabrera

MANILA — With the number of new Covid-19 cases soaring to 17,220 yesterday, Progressive Movement for the Devolution of Initiatives (PROMDI) presidential aspirant Emmanuel ‘Manny’ Pacquiao has called on the public to immediately report to the authorities regarding medicine hoarders and profiteers who blatantly taking advantage of the alleged scarcity of ‘flu-meds’ in various drugstores in Metro Manila.

Sen. and presidential aspirant Manny Pacquiao

Prior to the incumbent senator’s call, the Department of Health (DOH) had already assured the citizenry that there is no ongoing shortage of paracetamol and other drugs for flu-like symptoms amid the observed increase in demand due to the spate of cases of people, including whole families, experiencing fever, cough, and colds.

Yesterday, the health department reported 29 more cases of the more transmissible Omicron variant of the severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus 2 or SARS-CoV-2 which causes Covid-19.

According to Philippine College of Physicians (PCP) president Dr. Maricar Limpin, the Philippines is now into its ‘fourth surge’ of the pandemic since it struck the country in the first quarter of 2020, adding that projections show that there is a strong possibility that the country will even surpass the cases during the Delta surge.

Reacting to the alleged medicine shortage, Metro Manila mayors warned unscrupulous individuals or groups who would take advantage of the situation, stressing that the authorities will not hesitate to prosecute anybody found hoarding and profiteering these medicines.

In a statement, Quezon City mayor Maria Josefina Tanya ‘Joy’ Belmonte asked pharmaceutical firms and drug stores to ensure that there are ample supplies of over-the-counter medicines to help the public during this time when there is a trend of increasing numbers of people stricken with influenza and other respiratory ailments.

“Kailangan nating bantayan ang mga ‘yan dahil nauuso ang trangkaso kaya dapat may sapat na medisina para sa ating mga kababayan na nagkakasakit. They are preventing citizens na gusto lang bumili ng gamot para sa kanilang pamilya. We won’t let them get away with this,” Belmonte pointed out.

For his part, Pacquiao disclosed that all those engaging in the hoarding of medicines, as well other basic necessities and prime commodities, should be prosecuted because they are in violation of Section 15 of Republic Act No. 7581, also known as the Price Act and Republic Act No. 7394 or the Consumer Act.

“Hindi dapat na mag-take advantage sila sa situwasyon para kumita habang ang kapalit bito ay ang kapakanan ng sambayanang Pilipino. Ang nararapat nga ay magtulungan tayo dahil ito ang tunay na makakapagtawid sa atin sa krisis na dala ng pandemya,” the People’s Champ stressed.

Under Section 15 of RA 7581, criminal penalties are imposed on hoarding and profiteering while under the Consumer Act, criminal liability is set on unfair and unconscionable sales acts, among other violations. Criminal penalties prescribed by both laws are without prejudice to administrative sanctions as warranted under the circumstances. (ai/mtvn)

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