Prices double in Leyte towns

/ 09:00 PM November 17, 2013

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Prices of commodities have doubled since “supertyphoon Yolanda” (international name Haiyan) hit the towns of Merida and Isabel in Leyte, prompting many of its residents to go to Ormoc City or even cross the sea to Cebu to get much needed supplies.

Janice Requitillo, 25, of Barangay (village) Marvel in Isabel, had to take a four-hour boat trip from Pingag Wharf in Isabel to Danao City in Cebu, to buy food and water.


Requitillo said a kilo of well-milled rice cost P60 in her town, from the pre-storm price of P35 to P36; a can of sardines from P14-P15 to P30; while construction materials, such as umbrella nails rose to P150 a kilo from P40, and galvanized iron from P360 per sheet to P520.

The Pingag-Danao route used to be taken only by few people but “after Yolanda, people as far as Tacloban come to Isabel to get on the boat and leave Leyte. We have never seen this happen,” Requitillo, a sales associate for a welding material firm in Isabel, said in an interview in Danao City over the weekend.


“I have P3,000 now, which I will try to budget so we can buy as much rice, canned goods and water that will last us for another week,” she said.

Aside from their immediate family of six people, Requitillo said they were also supporting at least eight people, including a woman with a three-month-old son, who have sought refuge in their home, even as it lost its roof at the height of the typhoon.

In Barangay Libas in the town of Merida, residents complained of a P35-increase in fare – from P25 to P60 – for the one-hour public utility jeep (PUJ) ride to neighboring city of Ormoc.

“They have no choice but to pay otherwise, they cannot go to Ormoc to buy rice and canned goods,” said Elsie Simblante, a native of Merida who worked in Cebu City as househelp together with her neighbor, Mary Joy Campehios.

Simblante’s family – fishersfolk-parents Allan and Elizabeth and seven siblings – lost their house to the typhoon.

Simblante, who communicated with her parents through phone, said she sent money for her family through a money transfer center.

But receiving the money was another story, said Campehios, who sent money to her parents and two siblings through a money transfer company in Ormoc.


“My father said lines are long as many people are also claiming their money sent by relatives. Some would just sleep in Ormoc and wait for the center to open in the morning,” said Campehios.

Barangay Libas residents go to Ormoc to buy food and water because the stores in the town center in Merida were all closed.

“People are lining up for gasoline. Hardware stores are also filled with people. At least some stores are already open but now we are facing another challenge: high prices of goods,” Campehios quoted her father as saying after a phone conversation.

She said her father paid P60 to be able to charge his phone for two hours in a houose of one of the residents that had a generator.

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