Price freeze sought in typhoon-affected areas

MANILA — A partylist lawmaker on Friday urged Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Pińol to order a price freeze in typhoon-affected areas, particularly in northern and central Luzon, in anticipation of the effect of Typhoon Ompong.

Anakpawis Partylist Rep. Ariel Casilao said the Department of Agriculture (DA) should coordinate with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in implementing the price freeze on basic commodities to prevent “unscrupulous traders from exploiting the situation.”

“With the coming effects of Typhoon Ompong to properties and livelihoods, it is only just to call for price freeze. Controlling the prices of basic goods, especially in times of calamity, is as important as preparing the people for the upcoming natural calamity,” Casilao said.

“The Duterte government should order the DA, DTI and other concerned agencies to also prioritize controlling the prices of basic goods”, he added.

Citing the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA), Casilao said an estimated 1.9 million individuals in Batanes, Cagayan, Ilocos Norte and Apayao will be affected by the 200-km. radius of Typhoon Ompong’s projected track.

Casilao further cited UN OCHA, stating that some 400, 000 houses are expected to be battered by the typhoon.