Alcohol, face mask stocks stable -- DTI

May 21, 2020

Trade and Industry Sec. Ramon Lopez said the supply and demand situation for alcohol and face masks has already stabilized.

Lopez said there are now available supplies of alcohol in drugstores and supermarkets while retailers can already increase the number of face masks that can be sold per transaction.

“I was in a drugstore last Sunday after the mall visit, there were many supplies of alcohol. Even face masks, they are now selling by the tens. We are seeing before it was limited to five (per pack),” he said.

The DTI chief added prices of surgical face masks have gone down, with some retailers selling the product below P20 per piece. 

The DTI has set a suggested retail price for surgical face masks at P28 per piece.

At the start of the coronavirus disease 2019 outbreak in the country, the market ran out of stocks of alcohol and face masks as many consumers were panic buying and some were buying in bulk and re-sell it for a higher price.

Manufacturing and logistics of goods were also a challenge at the start of the enhanced community quarantine in the middle of March.

But Lopez said DTI issued policies early in the ECQ period that addressed the supply challenges for these essential goods, such as alcohol and other hygiene products and face masks.

For instance, Memorandum Circular No. 20-07 limits the purchase of food and non-food products to avoid hoarding and panic buying.

“We assure the public and private corporations have cooperated, and we made sure in the government that policies have been done --business operation will not be hampered even the movement of cargoes. In the early part (of the ECQ), we have addressed the problems,” Lopez said.

For the supply of food products, he said the production rate of factories is now at 80 percent to close to 100 percent.

As they operate in almost full capacity, inventory of finished goods is averaging for two weeks and 45 days for raw materials.

“Supply has been greater than the demand,” Lopez added.