Individuals who hoard supplies of key commodities in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic shall be arrested, Malacanang said on March 12, 2020.
“The Office of the President hereby gives warning to those hoarding vital commodities, which create a hike in the prices, as well as selling them beyond their regular prices, that their actions will be dealt with accordingly in pursuance of public safety and order,” said Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo in a statement.
"Those who unscrupulously take advantage of the health crisis will also be arrested and dealt with in accordance with law," he added.
Supermarkets have seen an influx in customers in the last few days and, according to reports, many have been hoarding or buying necessities in bulk. It is likely a reaction to news about the growing number of coronavirus cases in the country and fears of a metro-wide lockdown, if the situation worsens.
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), however, assured the public that there is no need to panic-buy because the government is ready should it come to that.
Yesterday, Panelo asked the public to "buy only what they need," because panic-buying "would only result in undue hoarding and price increases. Our officials from the Department of Trade and Industry gave assurances that we have ample stock of essential items," he added.
A 60-day price freeze is also being implemented by the DTI on all basic commodities.
President Rodrigo Duterte has suspended classes in Metro Manila in all levels as a precaution from COVID-19. Likewise, the Department of Education has put in place measures, like social distancing, to minimize exposure.
Medical experts advise that prevention is still the best way to protect your family from coronavirus. Frequent handwashing, disinfection, and boosting one's immune system all help lower the chances of catching the virus.