By Andrea Aro and Minka Tiangco
The office of the Manila Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna-Pangan has received complaints regarding the high price of N95 masks amid the ashfall caused by Taal Volcano’s eruption.
The N95 mask is a type of mask used to avoid inhalation of the hazardous particles.
In a statement issued Monday morning, Lacuna-Pangan said she ordered the Manila Bureau of Permits and the Manila Licenses Office to lead the inspection following reports that some have been selling N95 masks for P200 apiece.
The vice mayor warned the businesses not to take advantage of the buyers amid the situation.
“Huwag naman po natin gamitin ang panahon na ito para manamantala. Tandaan po natin, delikado po sa kalusugan nila ang ashfall,” she said.
Lacuna-Pangan added, “Ayaw ko pong makakita ng pasyenteng may asthma na itinakbo sa ospital dahil lang hindi siya makahanap o makabili ng mask.”
Volcanic ash may cause eye, nose, throat, and skin irritation, severe coughing, difficulty in breathing, the Manila Public Information Office said.
As of press time, at least one ash fall-related incident has been reported in Manila.
John Moquerio, 24, was riding his motorcycle at Sta. Ana at about 8:30 p.m. on Sunday when he had an asthma attack after inhaling volcanic ash.
He was brought to Sta. Ana Hospital where he was diagnosed with bronchial asthma and was treated before being sent home.
The Manila city government also distributed hundreds of face masks to vendors, bystanders, and homeless persons along Kalaw Avenue late Sunday night. Some of the homeless were also brought to Delpan Evacuation Center.
Taal Volcano’s current danger level is at 4 out of 5, which means a “hazardous explosive eruption is possible within hours to days,” the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said.
The volcano is one of the most active in the country. It’s most recent eruption was in 1977.