Davao del Norte Goveror Edwin Jubahib. (PNA file photo)

DAVAO CITY – The province of Davao del Norte has released a PHP16-million budget for prevention measures related to the 2019 coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

In a statement on Thursday, Gov. Edwin Jubahib said the budget was approved Wednesday evening during the quarterly meeting of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Council (PDRRMC).

Jubahib said the allocation consists of the Quick Response Fund (QRF) of the PDRRMC that have not been used for the past years.

“We need to prepare because we never know it might come into our province anytime. We will use the fund and prioritize the lives of the people,” the governor said.

The PHP16 million allocation will be used to buy thermal machine scanners to detect human temperature.

To complement the province's Covid-19 measures, Jubahib said he has also directed municipal and barangay officials to establish surveillance schemes and acquire their own thermal scanners.

“Let us be vigilant. Immediately report persons who traveled abroad so that our health officials will conduct an investigation,” Jubahib added.

On Wednesday, Provincial Health Officer Alfredo Lacerona urged the public not to engage in actions that may create unnecessary panic.

“In our case in Davao del Norte, we are sure that we can prevent the spread of the virus because we have intensified our monitoring and surveillances down to the barangay level,” Lacerona said.

Hoarders warned

In the Davao del Norte town of Sto. Tomas, meanwhile, Mayor Ernesto Evangelista slammed the people behind the hoarding of sanitary supplies and selling them at higher prices.

In a statement on Wednesday, Evangelista said numerous reports reaching his office showed that several shoppers engaged in bulk-buying of alcohol and sanitizers.

“We have also received reports that aside from personal consumption, these sanitary supplies are being sold for a much higher price,” he said.

He also reminded the public of the Department of Trade and Industry's directive to all businesses on the strict implementation of prize freeze on basic commodities for 60 days, following the President’s Proclamation 922 declaring a state of public health emergency in the country.

“With this, I order the Office of the Administrator to conduct a further inquiry into these uncalled for practices of some “opportunists” who are taking advantage of the situation by stockpiling consumer goods and sanitary supplies,” Evangelista said.

He warned that those caught violating the Consumer Act will be charged under the law.

“In this time of uncertainty, this administration will not hesitate to implement a mechanism to protect buyers of goods and services, and the public, against unfair practices in the market place,” he added.

Deolly Roque, division chief of the consumer protection of DTI-Region 11, said Wednesday that the agency has already deployed price monitoring teams all over the region to check on the compliance of the stores on the existing price freeze.

“The price monitoring teams will frequently visit the stores and will intensify their monitoring to ensure that the goods are at the standard retail prices,” Roque said.

Moreover, Department of Health-Region 11 Director Annable Yumang warned in a previous interview that they will investigate anyone found hoarding and overpricing of sanitary and medical supplies. (PNA)