State of calamity declaration to tame inflation after ‘Ompong’: NEDA

MANILA — The declaration of a state of calamity in areas affected by Typhoon ‘Ompong’ can ease inflationary expectations on account of its devastation, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said.

“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 said the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) has established that conditions necessary for the declaration of a state of calamity in Regions I, II, III and Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) are present.

She cited damage caused by Typhoon ‘Ompong’ to these regions on their livelihood; roads and bridges; fishponds, crops, poultry, and livestock, and other agricultural products; and lifeline systems, such as electricity, potable water system, transport system and communication system, which cannot be restored within one week.

“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.

Navarro said the NPCC can also monitor, prevent and control overpricing/profiteering and hoarding of prime commodities, medicines and petroleum products.

She added the government can likewise access to international assistance as deemed necessary, and program/reprogram funds for the repair and safety upgrading of public infrastructure and facilities under a state of calamity.

“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. (PNA)