Some 9,500 pieces of face masks were distributed by the office of the 1st District Rep. Paolo "Pulong" Z. Duterte on Monday in various areas of this city.
In an interview with reporters, Duterte said the activity aims to respond to the growing need for face masks following the reported scarcity due to the 2019 novel coronavirus scare.
This effort will address the shortage of masks in the city. Many of the Dabawenyos failed to buy masks due to the coronavirus scare, the lawmaker and Presidential son said.
But Duterte made it clear that the distribution of masks does not intend to fuel panic among the public but only to respond to the clamor by residents.
The lawmaker also reiterated the advice of health professionals that the wearing of masks alone would not protect anybody from the virus unless they observe proper hygiene.
He also advised Dabawenyos that aside from practicing proper hygiene, residents should also ensure that their environment remains clean.
Linda Absina, a sidewalk vendor, thanked the younger Duterte for the masks, noting its unavailability in local stores.
"I went to different pharmacies but none of them are selling face masks. It is out of stock," Absina said in vernacular, adding her grasp about the virus may be limited but she nonetheless felt secured having a mask on.
Meanwhile, Mayor Sara Z. Duterte warned Monday against alleged overpricing of face masks in the city.
"We will bring the issue to the Department of Trade and Industry since they are controlling the suggested retail prices of these products," the mayor said.
This city has not yet recorded any case of the 2019 novel coronavirus, although several persons are being monitored after suffering from flu-like symptoms.
Source: Philippines News Agency