ILOILO – In areas under a state of calamity, the government may freeze the prices of goods.
However, in six towns here that declared a state of calamity due to the El Niño phenomenon, no price freeze is being imposed, according to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
The local government units of Bingawan, Lambunao, Janiuay, Maasin, Mina, and Santa Barbara have not requested for a price freeze, said Ma. Dorita Chavez, officer-in-charge of DTI-Iloilo’s Consumer Protection Division.
“The state of calamity was declared in the six towns primarily due to the adverse effects of El Niño to agricultural products. Basic and prime commodities are not affected,” said Chavez.
There have been no drastic or abnormal movements in market prices, she added, but DTI-Iloilo is continuously monitoring prices in the six towns.
The first to declare a state of calamity was Bingawan. It reported P53,172,976 losses in rice production, fisheries, livestock and other crops due to the El Niño.
Lambunao made a similar declaration next, citing P164,107,800 losses in paly production affecting 3,588 farmers.
Janiuay was the third town to declare a state of calamity. Some 796.1 hectares of its rice farms were severely damaged, displacing 968 farmers. Losses were estimated to have reached P42,271,120.
Santa Barbara, reporting P21-million palay losses, also declared a state of calamity.
It was followed by Maasin that incurred losses in agriculture reaching P4 million. It also complained of dwindling water supply.
The sixth town to declare a state of calamity was Mina town. According to its Municipal Agriculture Office, El Niño’s damage to palay and other high-value crops reached P5,217,300./PN