DTI assures no food shortage in Metro

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AFP FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Trade and Industry on Thursday  allayed concerns over the “temporary” shortages of some basic commodities like noodles in certain parts of Metro Manila over the past days.

In a press briefing Thursday, Trade Secretary Gregory L. Domingo explained that these shortages, noted mainly in the Camanava area (Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas and Valenzuela), were due mainly to the inability of food manufacturers to make their respective deliveries given the floods spawned by heavy rains enhanced by tropical storm “Maring.”

Also contributing to these temporary shortages were the bulk buying made by various organizations for their relief operations, he added.

As a remedy, Domingo said he would ask the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to exempt food manufacturers and baking industry from the truck ban and color coding scheme to ensure timely deliveries to supermarkets and groceries.

He has likewise requested manufacturers to supply to the supermarkets more than their normal delivery, as well as to put up a dedicated center for bulk purchases for relief operations.

Victorio Mario A. Dimagiba, officer-in-charge of the consumer welfare and business regulation group at the DTI, also requested the retailers to extend their operating hours to accommodate all the consumers.

Prices of basic commodities meanwhile remained generally stable across Luzon, even in areas that were not placed under state of calamity. Slight increases were noted in the prices of vegetables in certain areas which Domingo did not identify.

The price freeze is automatically in effect in areas that are placed under a state of calamity. These areas included Pasay, Paranaque, Muntinlupa, Malabon, Marikina, Pateros, four municipalities in Ilocos Sur, four areas in Pangasinan, Bataan, Pampanga, Tarlac, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal.

Goods covered by the price freeze included canned sardines, processed milk, coffee, detergent soap, bread, candles, salt, rice, corn, cooking oil, fresh pork/beef/poultry meat, fresh/dried fish/marine products, fresh egg, fresh milk, fresh vegetables, rootcrops and sugar.

Meanwhile, Domingo said he expected Typhoon Maring to have a minimal impact on businesses outside the agriculture sector. The impact can be felt mainly on the halting of operations over the last few days, he added.

Domingo disclosed that the country’s economic zones fared well during the onslaught of Typhoon Maring except for one ecozone in Rosario, Cavite, which has some 250 locators.

Operations of at least 100 companies within the ecozone in Cavite were affected and are expected to resume in two weeks’ time, he further said.

Even the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) on Wednesday was hopeful that the impact of storm Maring on local firms (outside the agricultural sector) will not be as damaging.

“Definitely, there is a lot of damage. Apart from agriculture, there were no trading activities over the past two days. The logistics industry has been largely affected too because of the floods and because people can’t go to work,” PCCI president Miguel B. Varela had said in a phone interview.

“I hope that the impact will not be that big considering that flood waters receded quickly… [Also] affected were the manufacturing plants, in terms mostly of halted or low production,” Varela earlier said.

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