Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Northern Mindanao are taking measures to address the unavailability of face masks in the region as supplies of N95 and N88 face masks from drug stores and retail stores have run out based on the special monitoring on prices and supplies done by DTI provincial offices.

One of the actions undertaken involved the forming of task forces with the Local Price Coordinating Councils (LPCCs), local government units (LGUs) and Department of Health (DOH) as the lead agency. The special task forces will specifically address local concerns on the global outbreak of novel coronavirus acute respiratory disease (2019-nCov ARD).

Task force in Lanao del Norte is keen on increasing the information dissemination to the public that use of face masks should be reserved for health workers and individuals with respiratory symptoms. Individuals who are not health workers or have no respiratory symptoms are advised to avoid public places or to frequently wash hands, as advised by World Health Organization (WHO) consultant for Health Systems Strengthening Dr. Albert Domingo.

This information can help appease the panic buying of face masks.

On the other hand, Misamis Occidental has advised 13 drug stores to limit the selling of face masks per buyer.

Meanwhile, Misamis Oriental will continue with a weekly monitoring to check on any updates of supplies and ensure that prices are within the price range set by DOH.

DTI Bukidnon and Camiguin are about to hold a dialogue with their respective LPCCs and LGUs.

Aside from the local efforts, DTI is also tapping for manufacturers to increase the supply of face masks.

In an earlier statement, DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez said that he has directed Philippine International Trading Corp (PITC), an attached agency of DTI, to source out five million masks from suppliers overseas. PITC is currently waiting for the response of Thailand and Vietnam.

Additionally, Medtecs International Corp. Ltd., the only manufacturer of surgical masks in the country, committed to produce two million pieces of masks per month.♦

Date of Release: 7 February 2020