CEBU Governor Gwendolyn Garcia issued Tuesday, August 3, an executive order regulating the sale of medical oxygen within the province of Cebu.
In Executive Order (EO) 36, Series of 2021, the governor said there is a need to regulate the sale of medical oxygen due to the rise of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases in Cebu that prompted people to go to suppliers to buy medical oxygen.
"There is a need to immediately regulate the sale by manufacturers and dealers of medical oxygen so that the same may only be sold to hospitals and/or persons who are in real need of them," the EO stated.
With this, Garcia said manufacturers and dealers of 50-kilogram tank of oxygen must only sell it to hospitals, while private entities or individuals may buy medical oxygen upon presentation of a doctor's prescription, adding that the sale will only be limited to 20-pound tanks and up to a maximum of five tanks per entity or individual.
The EO also stated that trucks hauling or transporting medical oxygen must be exempted from the truck ban, which is being imposed in the Province of Cebu.
The EO was issued a day after relatives of Covid-19 patients from different areas in Cebu resorted to “panic buying” oxygen tanks at a pharmacy across the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) in Cebu City.
The buying spree happened on Monday, August 2, a day after images of patients waiting inside their cars and outside Chong Hua Hospital spread on social media.
"If the sale and purchase of the medical oxygen will not be regulated, the panic buying of medical oxygen might cause a shortage of the same," Garcia said in the EO.
She added, though, that manufacturers and suppliers of oxygen have assured the Provincial Government that there is enough and sufficient supply of oxygen in Cebu, and they can convert industrial oxygen to hospital/medical oxygen if needed. (LMY)