DTI warns vs trade exploitation
By Connie Calipay LEGAZPI CITY --- The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in Bicol has warned traders against increasing the prices of basic commodities after the province was placed under a state of calamity due to the Mayon volcanic activity. Jocelyn Berango, DTI regional information officer, in an interview Wednesday said businessmen must not take advantage of the situation of the evacuees and other people affected by the multi-hazard -volcanic eruption, flood and heavy rains. “We are closely monitoring the price and supply of basic necessities in stores throughout the province of Albay,” she said. DTI would make sure there was sufficient and reasonably-priced basic necessities like canned sardines, evaporated and condensed milk, coffee, laundry bar, detergent powder, candles, bread, salt, bottled water, and instant noodles, Berango said. She added, however, that “we have so far not noticed any exorbitant pricing in various markets in Albay”. Berango said there must be no price increase within the 60-day period upon declaration of a state of calamity for Albay on Tuesday afternoon. She asked the traders to show compassion especially to those who were affected by the calamity. “They are already out of comfort so let us help them by being compassionate,” she added. Health concerns Meanwhile, Dr. Antonio Ludovice, provincial health officer, reported that there were some evacuees getting sick but assured them of prompt delivery of medicine and health services. The most common ailment, he said, was cough and cold with a total of 49 cases. Camalig town alone has 36 cases. In all the evacuation centers across the province, a total of 113 people had sought consultation and were treated by medical station personnel. Top cases are respiratory infection/cough and cold (49 cases), fever (24 cases), hypertension (13 cases) and wounds. There were also two cases of chicken pox in Guinobatan who were advised to be confined at the Josefina Belmonte Duran Memorial District Hospital. Ludovice said the provincial health office had deployed two teams to monitor the evacuation camps, each composed of a doctor, nurse, administrative aide and a driver. Relief The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Bicol regional office said it had adequate stockpile of commodities for 13,352 persons and standby funds for relief operations. Jesseshan Aycocho, DSWD-Bicol chief, said that as of now, they had prepositioned goods for towns mostly affected by ash fall. Food packs would be distributed anytime upon request of concerned local government units, she added. Each DSWD family food pack contains six (6) kilos of rice, four (4) tin cans of corned beef, four (4) tin cans of sardines and six (6) packs of energy drink or coffee sufficient for five members of a family and good for two days, said the DSWD. “The LGUs affected by the eruption just have to ask for augmentation if needed,” Aycocho said.