Food supply, price ‘stable despite Manila truck ban’

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Sunday, March 9, 2014


THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) 7 assured the public that the supply and prices of basic consumer goods in the region remain stable despite the daytime truck ban recently implemented in Manila.

But the agency expects that the truck ban will affect the flow of deliveries to Cebu.

“It would definitely have an impact on the incoming and outgoing flow of cargoes to and from Cebu. But as of now, supply is not constricted yet and prices have remained stable,” said DTI 7 Director Asteria Caberte in an interview.

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The region maintains an inventory for three months, she said.

Complaints

DTI 7 has not received formal complaints yet from the business chambers, although the truck ban issue was already raised by a member of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI).

“We will closely monitor the impact and developments of this truck ban,” said Caberte, adding that the agency will also appeal for a resolution before the policy hurts consumers.

The Manila City Government implemented a revised truck ban that started last Feb. 24, restricting their operations to between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. National reports said that following the appeals from business owners and national government agencies, Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada announced he would temporarily allow them to ply their routes during the window period of 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. but only for the next two weeks.

Violators will be fined P5,000 while their vehicles will be towed. Sought for comment, Robert Go, president of Prince Warehouse Club Inc., said in a text message that “the Manila daytime truck ban has a big impact to Cebu on goods availability, especially in this trying time after super typhoon Yolanda.

To date, fastmoving consumer goods or grocery items have not stabilized in availability.”

Out of stock Go said many items are already out of stock since supplier manufacturers cannot deliver. He noted that close to 50 percent of goods shipped out from the Port of Manila comes to Cebu.

“With work shifting to evenings and graveyard (shifts), there will be added hours of opening and cost will greatly rise. Eventually, prices will have to increase a bit since shipping (costs) will increase,” said Go, adding that the limited and high cost of delivery might result to low inventories.

He is also worried Cebu might end up “begging” for deliveries, should manufacturers prefer to deliver to other cities rather than
through the Port of Manila.

Go emphasized a truck ban is not the solution, but rather proper infrastructure that would allow seamless transportation or delivery of goods to address traffic congestion. (KOC)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 10, 2014.

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