CEBU, Philippines – Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama on Tuesday, December 21, assured residents that the city government has P1 billion at its disposal to address the damage inflicted by Typhoon Odette.
Rama said this in a livestreamed press conference in response to questions on the estimated damage caused by Odette in the city.
“Where are we now in our actual [typhoon] damage? You don’t have to worry about the damage for a while. The positive thing is we have P1 billion to address all of this…. We don’t have to worry about money,” said Rama, who was still waiting for the complete tally of the typhoon damage in the city.
On Tuesday, Rama issued “an order directing the strict enforcement of the no stopping policy along major streets and thoroughfares, no queueing beyond gas station premises, providing express lanes to government, emergency response and critical public service utility vehicles and rationing of fuel to non-essential private vehicles.”
In issuing the order, the mayor cited the “long queuing at the gas stations” extending to the streets as the “principal and primary reason” for hampered government services – including clearing or roads, garbage collection, power and water supply restoration, and emergency relief efforts.
He had cited the same reason for his mandatory stay-at-home order to Cebu City residents, with some exceptions, for the duration of the state of calamity and emergency in the city.
Rama had earlier ordered the police and the city’s Business Processing and Licensing Office (BPLO) to nab and suspend the business permits of individuals and businesses that commit overpricing while Cebu is under a state of calamity and emergency.
Teams from Cebu’s local governments, with personnel from the Department of Trade and Industry and the Philippine National Police have been going around to monitor the prices of basic commodities in Metro Cebu.
Fight vs overpricing
Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes and Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard “Ahong” Chan are among the local chief executives who have been coordinating with their respective city officials in combatting overpricing in their areas, especially in public markets.
In a Facebook post, Chan shared an image of a vendor selling bottled water for P60, or several times higher than the regular price, and urged residents to report cases of overpricing to authorities so that those behind the act would be arrested.
He also issued an executive order on Monday, December 20, setting guidelines during the state of calamity, including imposing a price ceiling on basic goods.
Vendors at the Carbon Market have also felt the price crunch. Meat seller Manang Daisy, 50, said that the blocks of ice she used for her wares sold for a much steeper price after the typhoon.
“Kada bloke sa ice kay 800 gyud na ila baligya. Karon, nisabot lang mi sa ilang usa ka libo. Unya karon pag-abot diri kay P1,500 naman nuon ila baligya,” she said.
(Each block of ice is really sold at P800. Now, we agreed to a P1,000. And now that they brought it here, they sell it at P1,500.)
Carbon Market Operations Office(CMOO) personnel Tirso Dela Cruz said in an interview with Rappler that an estimated 400 bodegas or warehouses were destroyed overnight due to Typhoon Odette.
The entire second floor of the Carbon Market Unit 3 had also been wiped out, displacing nearly a hundred vendors. – Rappler.com