Keeping Reign
BUSINESS AFTER BUSINESS - Girlie Garces (The Freeman) - February 6, 2014 - 12:00am

It was a pleasant sight to see a father, dropping off his son to school on a motorcycle.  His son who was about  ten, and usually this age doesn’t want mushy expressions.  The boy reached up to kiss his dad and the dad kissed him back before he sent him off with blessings in his eyes.  I felt lifted that some things good have remained.

The news these days remind us of how times have become.  The screaming headlines on the alleged rapes, illicit consensual sex, beatings, killings, child abuse, smuggling,  deceit and drug trafficking show a psyche that is prevalent in our society today.  It makes one feel insecure in spite of the random police check points. 

In the Yolanda affected areas, particularly in Eastern Visayas, a different plague has affected business and that is the proliferation of the black market.  One consumer shared “the softdrinks  which used to be on P30 reaches up to P120 per liter.”

In spite of the efforts of the Department of Trade and Industry to contain prices, some of the food and beverages have remained high due to the difficulty in transportation and supply passage.  It could be the psychology of loss that has spurred the need for more luxurious items like soda and beer that reminisce a good life perhaps causing the demand.  The quiet rise of the black market has greatly affected the retailers although the DTI has no record of complaint. “We have never received a complaint.  We have only received requests for us to check on some areas.” DTI Region 8 Director Ms. Cynthia Nierras stated when asked about this problem.

The transport delays that have been brought about by the succeeding typhoons that visited the region have greatly affected the flow of goods.  When one visits some of the groceries, it is true that some shelves are empty.  “The manufacturers from Manila tell us that they have shipped their goods to the region, but sometimes, it gets stuck at the ports of Cebu and Matnog.” Director Nierras declared.  DTI is continuously monitoring the prices and they have noted the increase due to the lack of supply.

It is sad since the legitimate companies carry the cost of taxes for their business as the black market continue to lurk darkly and gain more in their sales. 

How can these be controlled?

The best way is to buy at source or buy from the accredited, registered outlets only.  Another is to report the source of  high priced goods to the Department of Trade and Industry or to the price control council in the locality. For Tacloban, the hot line number is 09174430541.

According to DirectorNierras, the supply of the region comes from all parts of the country.  Based on their monitoring, although it is true that there are some goods that still lack supply, most of the basic commodities are already stabilized.  It was also noted that because of the “traffic” in the port areas due to relief and rehabilitation activities, the boats that carry goods are sometimes given less priority thus making the supply scarce. “even the supply of the distributors in the region is limited” Nierras added.

The recent storms that made Eastern Visayas part of its path  has aggravated the delays in the delivery of the supplies. “In order to prepare for things like this, we will soon be setting up a depot where  manufacturers can deposit their products in advance.  This is a project that Secretary Domingo himself has endorsed.” Dir. Nierras said.

The government agencies have come together to cooperate in keeping the needed food and other supplies in the typhoon affected areas which includes Northern Cebu within a reasonable range.  It will take equal cooperation from the citizens to keep the prices controlled.  More importantly, it will need a right heart of the seller to keep reign over the cost of his goods in these uncertain times.

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