THE National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) will go after hoarders of medical oxygen and supplies in Cebu City and other parts of the country as COVID-19 cases continue to rise with the more infectious Delta variant.
” I will direct the NBI to help the PNP and the DTI (Philippine National Police and Department of Trade and Industry) in running after and prosecuting these hoarders not only in Cebu but in all areas of the country where incidents of Delta variant COVID-19 infection are expected to be high, including the NCR (National Capital Region),” said Guevarra.
Cebu City is battling a new surge in coronavirus infections and has sought help amid a lack of medical personnel.
Photographs circulating on the internet showed local residents flocking to suppliers of oxygen tanks, with prices in one store ranging from P3,500 up to P8,950.
The PNP said it will investigate the possible hoarding of oxygen tanks and medical supplies as the country faces the threat of the highly infectious Delta variant of COVID-19.
PNP chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar gave the order after the call by Cebu City Vice Mayor Michael Rama to police and the Department of Trade and Industry.
“I have directed the Cebu City Police and the Regional Criminal Investigation and Detection Group to closely coordinate with the DTI office in the area and look into this report of hoarding,” Eleazar said.
The PNP chief said he has instructed the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) headed by Major Gen. Albert Ignatius D. Ferro to spearhead the investigation into the hoarding of the medical supplies.
“Makikipagugnayan at tulungan ang PNP sa DTI para silipin ang sinasabing hoarding ng oxygen tanks, lalo na sa Cebu City. I have directed the Cebu City Police and the Regional Criminal Investigation and Detection Group to closely coordinate with the DTI office in the area and look into this report of hoarding,” said Eleazar.
According to the official, they will also check if there are also incidents of hoarding of oxygen tanks and other medical supplies in Metro Manila and other parts of the country during the pandemic.
“Pati dito sa Metro Manila ay aalamin din natin kung may mga ganitong insidente. Ngayon natin mas kailangan ng sapat na suplay ng oxygen tanks dahil sa tumataas na bilang ng COVID-19 cases dahil na rin sa mas nakahahawang Delta variant,” he said.
Gen. Eleazar urged businessmen and the rest of the general public to avoid hoarding oxygen tanks and other medical supplies.
“Hindi biro ang sitwasyon natin ngayon. Mga buhay ang nakasalalay sa sapat na suplay ng oxygen tanks. Mas kailangan natin ngayon ang pagkakaisa para pagtulungang mapigilan ang pagdami pa ng kaso ng COVID-19 sa bansa,” he said. With ALFRED DALIZON