A MEMBER of the Makabayan bloc yesterday slammed Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol for not ordering a price freeze in typhoon-affected areas in Northern and Central Luzon.
Instead, Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao said Piñol only warned the public of high prices of goods due to Typhoon Ompong.
Casilao said Piñol’s statement manifests insensitivity to the plight not only of typhoon-affected communities but also of consumers.
According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA), an estimated 1.9 million people in Batanes, Cagayan, Ilocos Norte and Apayao will be affected by the 200 kilometer radius of Typhoon Ompong’s projected track.
UN OCHA added that around 400,000 houses are expected to be battered by the typhoon.
“Farmers and consumers alike for months have been bombarded by high prices of basic goods and services due to inflation mainly caused by the Train law. On food items which comprised of 60% to 70% of the household expenditure of low income wage earners,” Casilao said.
“Instead of simply warning of possible further price increases, the DA in coordination with the trade department should order the freezing of prices in typhoon-hit areas in anticipation of the effect of Typhoon Ompong. This is to prevent unscrupulous traders from exploiting the situation,” the Anakpawis lawmaker added.
In order to help the people the DA should call for price freeze, the solon said. Controlling the prices of basic goods especially in times of calamity is as important as preparing the people for the upcoming natural calamity.
“The Duterte government should order the DA, DTI and other concerned agencies to also prioritize controlling the prices of basic goods,” Casilao said.