President Duterte calls out mask hoarders
Location: Manila, Metro Manila, Philippines
Date Published: January 14, 2020
Amid the spread of ashfall from the eruption of Taal Volcano, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has warned traders against hoarding N95 face masks.
Speaking to reporters in Taguig City on Monday night, Duterte said that he would like to set a limit on the prices of face masks following the complaints.
“If the demand is high then magkakaroon tayo ng medyo magkulang (we’re going to have a shortage), then the prices go up. Or the worst thing that they can do if they have enough supplies and yet they are selling it at prohibitive prices already,” he said.
“Mura na man ‘yan, bakit (That’s supposed to be cheap. Why)…? Do not hoard it. ‘Pag itinago ninyo then (If you hoard them) I will be forced to order na pasukin ka (to raid your businesses),” he added.
He said the government could also distribute free N95 face masks to people who could not afford it.
“For those who cannot afford it, we will give it free,” Duterte said, noting that he could ask military and police to hand out the face masks.
The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) said on Tuesday that Taal’s activity will affect the supply of tilapia in Metro Manila
BFAR estimates that 15,033 metric tons of fish supply from Taal Lake has been lost, and this could reduce the supply of tilapia in Metro Manila.
Fish from Taal Lake is not safe to eat, the Department of Health (DOH) warned on Tuesday, as sulfur from the rumbling volcano could affect marine life there.
BFAR said it is already identifying several sources of tilapia from other regions following Taal Volcano's damage to fish cages in Batangas.
The bureau said it will also help affected fish producers by providing fingerlings of tilapia and other fish, once the situation in Taal Lake goes back to normal.
"Moreover, BFAR will be providing production loan for tilapia producers in Central Luzon to intensify production," BFAR said.
Taal volcano's damage to agriculture has reached P577.6 million, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said Tuesday.
The volcano's unrest has affected 2,772 hectares of farmland which grow rice, corn, coffee, cacao, banana, and other high-value crops, the DA said.
At least 1,967 heads of livestock were also affected.
The DA's attached agencies said they are ready to distribute seedlings and livestock to affected farmers.
Medicine will also be provided for livestock affected by the ashfall, the DA said.
"Also, two trucks are available to mobilize the affected areas for animal rescue and evacuation," the DA added.
An initial P30 million worth of loans will also be provided to around 1,200 farmers and fisherfolk in Batangas.