By GENALYN D. KABILING
There is no reason to go panic buying as the government has assured the public of adequate supply of food and other goods following the onslaught of typhoon “Ompong.”
After the powerful typhoon battered some provinces in Luzon over the weekend, Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez said yesterday it was “business as usual” as the inventory of basic goods remains sufficient and prices are within the suggested retail price.
“Ang importante hindi kailangan mag-panic buying dahil ang supply is good for two to three weeks inventory,” Lopez said in a press conference led by presidential spokesperson Harry Roque in Tuguegarao City.
“Bago magbagyo dahil sa preparation natin, ‘yung iba nag-imbak ng inventory pa ng dalawang buwan. May mga kompanya na more than one month ‘yung inventory so marami tayong stock kaya hindi kailangan mag-panic ang ating mga kasamahan,” Lopez added.
Lopez noted that so far they have not monitored any sudden price increases in basic goods in typhoon-hit areas.
He said businesses have reopened with plenty of stocks for public consumption. To sustain the supply of goods, he said it was important to keep the roads open or tap alternative paths to bring the goods to the market.
“Ang assessment in general ay business as usual. Ibig sabihin nagbukas ang mga tindahan, nandoon ang mga stocks. Ang supply nandun po at ang presyo within SRPs. Ang ibig sabihin nun walang nagtaas,” he said. “Wala tayo in-expect na pagtaas,” he said.
Lopez also said the country has 4.6 million sacks of government rice, adding the government is taking steps to transport these stocks to the market.
“Marami tayong NFA rice. Remind ko lang ang kababayan para hindi mag-alala sa supply ng bigas. 4.6 million bags, cavans na available na
NFA rice na nakakalat na ‘yan sa mga bodega nationwide,” he said.
So ang ating tinatrabahao natin with NFA at saka DTI at PNP ay madala ang stocks na ito sa palengke,” he added.
Lopez said the government intends to make the NFA rice available not only in public markets but also in the supermarkets. He noted that the group of supermarkets has already agreed to sell the R27 and R32 per kilogram NFA rice in their stores.
The government has also threatened to cancel the permits of grain retailers that only sell premium rice and hide the cheaper variety.
Lopez said grains retailers would be required to sell basic regular and well-milled rice that ranged between R38 to R41 per kilo. He said they noticed some traders only sell premium and fancy rice amounting P44 per kilo and above that triggered concerns about the high prices.