JUSTICE Secretary Menardo Guevarra yesterday warned business establishments selling overpriced face shields they will be charged criminally amid reports that traders have jacked up the prices of face shields after the government said it is looking at requiring the wearing of the protective equipment in public places as an additional layer of protection against the novel coronavirus.
Guevarra said the public should report to the Department of Trade and Industry any unscrupulous trader who may try to take advantage of the situation.
“Any person who has information on overpricing may report the same to the DTI, and the DOJ will prosecute violators in accordance with existing laws,” Guevarra said.
He said the DTI should set a suggested retail price for face shields sold by manufacturers to prevent such overpricing, while the Department of Health should announce minimum standards to allow innovative residents to create their own face shields.
“But it is my hope that the government could provide it free under the proposed stimulus bill, or at least at a subsidized cost,” Guevarra said.
Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez has said that as an additional precaution against COVID-19, the government is looking at requiring the wearing of face shields, aside from face masks, in public places.
The Technical Education and skills Development Authority (TESDA) said the agency will produce 50 million pieces of reusable face masks for distribution to the public for free.
TESDA deputy director general for partnerships and linkages Aniceto Bertiz III said the government has commissioned the agency to produce the face masks to address the shortage of surgical and N95 masks in the country.
He said they were tasked to mass-produce the face masks based on the required quality standards set by the Cabinet cluster.
The finished products will be turned over to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) for distribution to local government units.
FACE MASK PROGRAM
The city government of Manila has distributed more than half a million face masks under its Face Mask Livelihood Sewing program, which aims to distribute for free one million washable face masks for residents and frontliners.
Manila Public Employment Service Office chief Fernan Bermejo said 502,946 face masks have been distributed as of August 7.
Bermejo said the city government has tapped more than 50 unemployed seamstresses and tailors and 10 master cutters, some of them elderly and disabled, under the program. – With Noel Talacay and Christian Oineza