DTI monitors surgical masks supply in CAR amid nCoV scare

BAGUIO CITY — Amid the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) scare, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has been monitoring the supply and demand of surgical and N-95 masks in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).
Based on the latest monitoring that the DTI did on Monday in major pharmacies and drug stores in CAR, Regional Consumer Protection Officer-in-charge Jerry Agpes on Tuesday said it appears that the supply shortage of the masks is true in the whole region.
Agpes said the stocks which should be delivered in the pharmacies were not delivered as scheduled.
“The pharmacies are expecting sana deliveries nila so accordingly hindi daw dumating deliver nila from last week and even this weekend.” (The pharmacies are expecting deliveries from last week which did not arrive. Even this weekend’s supply did not),” Agpes said.
He said they have already brought the matter to the DTI central office, which is now coordinating with local and international suppliers of masks.
“They are presently talking to suppliers to find out the problem and address the shortage,”Agpes said.
“For now there are no [production] masks because the machines and other materials needed to produce are being fixed,” he said, adding they are now discussing the matter with those concerned.
Agpes said there is only one manufacturer of surgical masks in the country.
He said the DTI is determining the availability of stocks in the market.
“Nagmo-monitor tayo even during the Taal issue and medyo lacking na yung supply natin. Right now with the coronavirus nawala na talaga (We have been monitoring during the Taal issue and we are lacking in supply that time. Right now with the corona virus, there is no more supply), “Agpes said.
He said they are looking at the possible hoarding of supplies as one of the factors for the shortage.
“At this time hindi muna natin masasabi ang hoarding kasi when we went to the stores sabi naman nila wala talaga (At this time we can’t say there is hoarding because when we visited the stores, they say it is really out of stock),” Agpes said.
Surgical masks and the N95 masks became a highly in-demand commodity worldwide following reports of the nCoV scare. **By Liza Agoot With reports from Corwin Lucas Golonan, OJT/PNA

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