Goods, including those from looting, return in Tacloban
TACLOBAN CITY—The streets of this city are teeming with goods that are being sold at ridiculously low prices.
Those who had taken part in the looting orgy that followed Supertyphoon “Yolanda” here are apparently selling the goods they had stolen from the city’s malls.
A vendor, who wants to be identified only as Lina, first claimed that the clothes she was selling, displayed on a motorcycle, were old stock. However, she admitted later that these were looted items.
The clothes she was selling carried price tags identifying the items’ source as a well-known mall that was among those ransacked a day after Yolanda struck on Nov. 8.
The prices of the items, based on their original price tags, ranged from more than P100 to P700, but these were being sold at lower prices.
Lina was among several people selling looted items in the city streets.
But some entrepreneurs, like Airin Sulaiman, are trying to borrow money to buy new stocks.
Sulaiman, a Muslim trader selling shoes, slippers and cellular phones, said he had to borrow P15,000 from a friend to restart his business.
“All my stocks were washed out during the typhoon. Good thing, a friend of mine gave a loan for me to restart my small business,” said the 37-year-old Sulaiman.
He said he lost at least P50,000 in potential income because his house, where he kept all his stocks, in Barangay 37, Tacloban City, was washed away by the storm surge.
In a city downtown area, composed of several blocks, workers could be seen cleaning establishments.
Businessman Cesar Lee, who owns a jewelry store, said he and his helpers were cleaning his damaged store as he intended to reopen for business by the first week of December.
“I still have this strong faith that Tacloban can recover from this huge disaster. That is why, I intend to reopen again my business, hopefully by Dec. 1,” Lee said.
He said he lost close to P500,000.
For Zaldy Yape, 41, it is business as usual after the big storm.
“I have to [engage in business again] otherwise, my family will go hungry. I should not wait for help from our government all the time,” said Yape, 41, a father of four children.
He is selling bottled water at P21, much higher than the regular price of P10 each.
Some stalls at the Tacloban City public market have also opened.
Tacloban City market superintendent Cesar Saliput said he was happy that the city public market was slowly returning to life.
“What we have right now are your ordinary vendors selling their wares and not those occupying stalls for fish and meat, but this is OK,” Saliput said.
Tecson John Lim, Tacloban City administrator, maintained that the city was on its way to normalcy, citing the reopening of several business establishments in the city like restaurants, gasoline stations, hardware stores, banks and money remittance centers.
“We can do this. Please hold on. Going forward with our dream of a far better Tacloban. Tindog Tacloban,” Lim said.
Streamers bearing the words “Tindog Tacloban,” alongside the Philippine flag, could be seen in the city, in houses, business establishments and government offices.
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