In overseeing the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) efforts to provide consumers access to discounted basic goods in typhoon-devastated cities of Samar, DTI local officials found that commerce in these communities have started to normalize.
“The people’s tension has dissipated. The DTI’s Diskwento Caravan has helped in getting rid of the people’s fear of food shortage or starvation,” DTI Samar officer in charge (OIC) director Meliou C. Macabare.
Macabare said since the food supply chain coming from Tacloban was disrupted by typhoon Yolanda, residents of these cities have experienced limited food supply. Most of the merchandise warehouses are located in Tacloban City, which is a major commercial hub in the region.
The Diskwento Caravan was in Calbayog City, Samar on Tuesday (November 19), and in Catbalogan City, Samar on Wednesday and Thursday (November 20 and 21).
For Calbayog City, the basic goods offered in the caravan included canned goods, condiments, personal care products, biscuits, and rice. The participating companies were Dranix – Calbayog (Nutri-Asia and Nission Monde), River Valley Distributor Inc., Gardenia, and Unilever. The National Food Authority also joined the caravan. The estimated number of buyers was 2500.
For Catbalogan City, the participating companies were Unilever, Gardenia, Nestle, and River Valley Distributor Inc. together with NFA. The total number of buyers was estimated at 5000.
Macabare noted that some of the buyers in Catbalogan came from as far as Tacloban City in Leyte and Borongan City in Eastern Samar.
She also said buyers in these Diskwento Caravans were glad to buy basic goods at discounted prices, which ranged from 10 to 15 percent.
“We have also allowed some retailers to buy goods in bulk if the stocks are sufficient,” Macabare said.
Macabare also said the DTI is working to maintain the prevailing price levels of basic goods in the province.
Macabare said consumer complaints received by DTI including those on rice and petroleum, were referred to the concerned government agencies.
“The people feel at ease with the government’s presence in their community. They have trust in our office (DTI) in restoring normalcy in the province,” Macabare added.
After the Diskwento Caravans in Samar, Macabare is optimistic that the supply of goods in the province will slowly return to normal through its usual commercial networks.