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Demand for N95 masks up after ashfall from Taal Volcano

People lined up at stores on Bambang Street in Sta. Cruz, Manila on Monday morning to buy N95 masks amid the ashfall brought by the eruption of Taal Volcano.

Most stores in Bambang, a known destination for medical supplies and equipment, no longer have supplies of N95 masks and only have ordinary face masks.



According to the US Food and Drug Administration, an N95 mask gives "a very close facial fit" and is "very efficient" against airborne particles. 

It further said that the ‘N95’ designation means that when subjected to careful testing, the respirator blocks at least 95% of very small (0.3 micron) test particles.



Some of those who lined up in Bambang came from as far as Alabang and Parañaque.

One buyer said they will bring the N95 masks to their relatives in Batangas.

Buyers said some stores sell N95 masks at P200 apiece while some stores did not increase their price and continued to sell it at P40 each.

1 box per customer

Meanwhile, a drug store in Metro Manila allotted only one box of face masks per person on Sunday, according to a report by Corinne Catibayan on GMA News' Unang Balita on Monday.


"Para po lahat kasi mapagbigyan lahat e. Lahat mapagbigyan po kasi. Kasi kung maramihan, 'yung iba binebenta lang nila e sinasamantala nila 'yung ibang presyo, kaya 'yun. Isang tao, isang (box ng) face mask lang muna," said Marvin Mendonez, a pharmacy vendor.

Sales of regular face masks was also brisk at drug stores which have run out of N95 masks. These stores were selling them at P300 for two boxes.

Determined customers went around drug stores in search of face masks, with one saying she went to eight stores before finally finding a mask.

"Pang-eighth store na ito...Yes, wala silang ganyan (N95 mask). Sold out din lahat. Ito na lang (regular face mask). Pero okay na rin ito as long as mayroong naka-cover kasi kanina nagbiyahe kami, sobrang sakit sa ano, sa lalamunan. So hindi kaya," said Lea de leon.

Others said they will use two regular face masks for added protection since they could not find N95 masks.

Still others who could not find or buy any mask just used clothes or face towels to cover their noses amid the ashfall on Sunday. —KG, GMA News