No hoarding of medical oxygen seen in Cebu
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Despite a surge in demand due to rising cases of COVID-19, the market for medical-grade oxygen in Cebu remains stable.
The National Bureau of Investigation in Central Visayas (NBI-7) said their investigation showed no indication of individuals hoarding of oxygen cylinder tanks.
“We have already submitted a report to the director who will then forward it to the DOJ (Department of Justice),” said Lawyer Rennan Augustus Oliva, director of NBI-7.
“The outcome of our investigation showed that so far, there are no signs pointing to possible hoarding of medical-grade oxygen tanks,” he added.
Nevertheless, NBI-7 said they would continue to monitor the situation.
To recall, the DOJ and the Philippine National Police (PNP) ordered their regional counterparts to look into allegations of hoarding of oxygen tanks.
This developed after photos and videos showed people lining up in Cebu City’s pharmacies to outrightly buy medical-grade oxygen to aid their relatives fighting COVID-19 in hospitals.
The Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH-7), for their part, cautioned the public in purchasing and using oxygen for home use, and advised them to seek professional assistance to prevent unwanted consequences.
Meanwhile, the regional office of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI-7) has reassured the public that Cebu has enough supply of oxygen.
There are at least eight firms accredited by the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) to produce medical-grade oxygen in Central Visayas.
All of them had the capacity to respond to a sustained increase of demand, DTI-7 added.
The Cebu Provincial government, on the other hand, has also imposed regulations on the distribution and selling of oxygen tanks to prevent shortage and hoarding.
Hoarding, under the Price Act (Republic Act No. 7581 as amended by RA 10623), is a crime punishable with a penalty of imprisonment for a period of not less than give years nor more than 15 years, and a fine of not less than P5,000 no more than P2 million.
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