The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) on Friday expressed confidence that a declaring a state of calamity in areas affected by recent supertyphoon ‘Ompong’ could play a positive role in controlling local inflation rates.
“At this point, it’s difficult to predict in terms of figures what its (typhoon’s) impact on inflation is. One way to get ready is to manage expectations. One way of managing is to declare a state of calamity,” NEDA Undersecretary for Regional Development Adoracion Navarro said in a media briefing.
Navarro confirmed that Regions I, II, III and Cordillera Administrative Region all meet the criteria established by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) to make necessary a delcaration of a state of calamity.
The damage caused by Typhoon ‘Ompong’ in these regions has severely impacted livelihoods, infrastructure, food supply, and lifeline systems such as electricity and water in these area. Crops, poultry and livestock, as well as other agricultural products have been affected by the extreme weather event. Transport and communication systems have also been impacted. These damages cannot be restored within one week, according to Navarro.
“With the President’s declaration of a state of calamity, then we will be able to impose price ceiling on basic necessities and prime commodities upon the recommendation of the implementing agency as provided for under Republic Act 7581, or the Price Act, or upon the recommendation of the National Price Coordinating Council (NPCC),” she said.
According to Navarro, the NPCC can also act to monitor, prevent and control overpricing/profiteering, which may proliferate in vulnerable communities. Emergency situations can give rise to hoarding behavior, especially for prime commodities such as medicines and petroleum products, which the NPCC would also discourage to protect the integrity of the market’s supply.
She also added that under a state of calamity the government can intervene by accessing international assistance, if deemed necessary, as well as program/reprogram funds to address needed repairs and safety upgrading of public infrastructure and facilities.
“Our target in the NDRRMC is to send this (recommendation) immediately to the Office of the President… And then we will await for the actual declaration by the President of a state of calamity,” she said.
As vice-chair for Rehabilitation of NDRRMC, NEDA takes the lead in formulating the Rehabilitation and Recovery Program (RRP) for areas struck by disasters or calamities.
“Declaration of state of calamity is a commitment of our swift response,” she added.