Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte on Wednesday has issued a stern warning against medicine hoarders and profiteers blatantly taking advantage of the alleged scarcity of ‘flu-meds’ in various drugstores in the city.

The Department of Health (DOH) on Tuesday has already assured the public that there is no ongoing shortage of paracetamol and other drugs for flu-like symptoms, amid an observed increase in demand.

“We will not hesitate to prosecute anybody found hoarding and profiteering these medicines. They are preventing citizens na gusto lang bumili ng gamot para sa kanilang pamilya. We won’t let them get away with this,” Mayor Belmonte said.

According to City Legal Officer Attorney Niño Casimiro, all those who engage in the hoarding of medicines, other basic necessities and prime commodities will be prosecuted for violation of Section 15 of Republic Act No. 7581 also known as the Price Act and Republic Act No. 7394 or the Consumer Act.

Section 15 of RA No. 7581 imposes a criminal penalty on hoarding and profiteering. The Consumer Act, on the other hand, imposes criminal liabilily on, among others, unfair and unconscionable sales acts. The criminal penalties prescribed by both laws are without prejudice to admistrative sanctions as warranted under the circumstances.

Further, profiteers will also be penalized under City Ordinance No. SP-2914 S-2020 as ammended by SP-2948 s-2020 that sets limit on selling basic necessities during calamities and emergency situations.

On the other hand, the City Health Department (QCHD) has already talked with the health centers’ medicine supplier to stock up medicines particularly for fever, colds, and cough.

“Mayroon pong available na libreng gamot sa ating health centers. With the help of our new pharmacy management system, hindi na tayo umaabot sa punto na nauubusan ng gamot para sa mga nangangailangan na residente,” QCHD OIC Dr. Esperanza Anita Escano-Arias explained.

Mayor Belmonte has also called on QCitizens to report individuals or businesses who are caught doing acts of hoarding of medicines.

Residents can report them by calling Helpline 122 or filing a report through the QCitizen Watch in the Quezon City Government Website.