CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines – The Zamboanga City government ordered a two-month price freeze on basic commodities four days after it placed the entire city under a state of calamity in the aftermath of the flooding spawned by Severe Tropical Storm Paeng (Nalgae).
The decision to order a price freeze on Wednesday, November 2, was collective and based on a resolution approved by the Zamboanga City Price Coordinating Council convened by Mayor John Dalipe.
“It is hereby announced that prices of necessities in Zamboanga City are automatically frozen at their prevailing price and/or placed under automatic price control,” read part of the Dalipe-chaired council’s Resolution No. 2.
The measure will be in effect throughout Zamboanga City for 60 days, retroactively since Monday, October 31.
Zamboanga is one of the Mindanao cities adversely affected when Paeng unleashed torrential downpours in many parts of the country’s second-largest island on Friday, October 28.
Half of the city’s 98 barangays were flooded, displacing 13,500 families or 67,700 people as a result of hours of heavy rain, just before thousands flocked to the cemeteries in time for the annual Undas tradition.
The city also saw three Paeng-related deaths, based on data from the Zamboanga City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office.
The city, however, is not part of any of the regions declared under a state of calamity by President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. earlier this week.
On Wednesday, Marcos issued Proclamation No. 84, placing the regions of Calabarzon and Bicol in Luzon, Western Visayas in the Visayas, and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) under a state of calamity for half a year.
Zamboanga City is part of the Zamboanga Peninsula region, which shares its borders with BARMM, where the new province of Maguindanao del Norte registered the most number of deaths due to flooding and landslides during Paeng’s onslaught.
Maguindanao del Norte accounted for about half of the more than 100 deaths counted by the government since late last week, in the aftermath of the 16th tropical cyclone to hit the country in 2022.
Marcos said on Tuesday, November 1, that the state weather bureau Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration or PAGASA was expecting at least four more cyclones in the country before year-end.
Zamboanga’s price-control measure followed the October 29 approval of Dalipe and the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council’s recommendation to declare a state of calamity as a result of the widespread flooding in 50 of Zamboanga’s barangays.
The official declaration allows the city government’s executive department to tap the city hall’s reserved calamity fund for disaster relief aid, and stop prices of basic commodities from being increased.
Local officials warned that authorities would monitor establishments and file profiteering complaints against those who violate the price-freeze order.
The commodities covered by Zamboanga’s price-control mandate include the following:
- canned goods
- cooking oil
- marine products such as dried fish
- pork, beef, and poultry products
- vegetables and root crops
- processed milk
- bottled water
- firewood and charcoal
- essential medicines classified by the health department
- soap and detergents
Meanwhile, the Zamboanga City government sounded alarm bells over the threat of a leptospirosis outbreak as a result of last week’s widespread flooding.
The local government teamed up with the Philippine Red Cross in Zamboanga in launching a campaign against the bacterial disease caused by animal urine-contaminated water, distributing the antibiotic doxycycline and other medicines and vitamins. – Rappler.com