THE DEPARTMENT of Trade and Industry has announced a price freeze on basic goods in landslide-hit Naga City, Cebu following the declaration of a state of calamity by the city government. Under the Price Act, a declaration of a state of calamity automatically freezes prices “at their prevailing prices” or placed under price controls. The price freeze will be in place for 60 days unless the local government lifts the declaration. Goods covered by the price freeze include sardines, processed milk, coffee, detergent/laundry soap, instant noodles, and bottled water.
Meanwhile, the woman who urged President Rodrigo R. Duterte in a public event to stop quarrying in Naga City is safe but says she fears for her life. In a statement sent to The Freeman, Shiela Eballe said she had to go into hiding because she felt threatened when she found out that alleged security personnel of Apo Land and Quarry Corp. (ALQC) came looking for her. “I fear for my safety now. They are looking for me. I was first alerted when the security personnel from Apo were looking for me. Have I committed any wrongdoing? I only expressed what is true,” she said. Meanwhile, ALQC spokesperson Chito Maniago denied that the company sent someone to look for or talk to Ms. Eballe. “It is foul for us to be associated in this incident,” he told The Freeman. In a statement released Sunday, ALQC said it “condemns in the strongest terms such malicious reports linking the company to the alleged disappearance of a certain ‘Shiela.’” Mr. Maniago said ALQC has nothing against Ms. Eballe and the company believes that her request to the President was “transparent and sincere.” The June 20 landslides in Barangay Tinaan, Naga City, where ALQC operates, killed at least 77 and displaced hundreds. Ms. Eballe is among those who were forced to evacuate Barangay Pangdan, which is located within the 100-kilometer radius from the landslides site. — The Freeman