Businesses incur P1-billion losses

Published by rudy Date posted on October 12, 2009

MANILA, Philippines – Businesses have lost up to P1 billion because of the devastation caused by tropical storm “Ondoy,” according to the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

PCCI president Edgardo Lacson said, however, that local enterprises are starting to recover.

Earlier, Alaska Milk announced that its flooded plant in Laguna would be closed for a week, but assured the public that the company has enough milk supply because it has a big inventory.

Lacson said even with the price control, businesses will be able to recover, but will have difficulty if the price ceiling on goods will last for a year.

“There must be a balance,” he said.

Price control was imposed nationwide when the country was placed under a state of calamity on Oct. 2. The government earlier said it might impose a price ceiling on goods until the state of calamity is lifted.

But after the lifting of the state of calamity in Visayas and Mindanao last week, Press Secretary Cerge Remonde said President Arroyo no longer sees the need for a nationwide imposition of price control since the market situation has returned to normal.

But Luzon is still under a state of calamity because Metro Manila and several provinces are still under rehabilitation. Remonde said this would not last for a year and would likely be lifted in December.

PCCI chairman emeritus Ambassador Donald Dee said if price control is imposed for a year, businesses will suffer losses and are likely to cut the number of their employees.

“We will follow the law for as long as we can but we cannot operate when we are already losing money,” he said.

He said he is not sure if PCCI members can freeze the prices of their goods.

“If they (businessmen) are asked to hold prices for a year, it might lead to other problems like supply shortage and job losses,” he said.

“We will do consultation over this. All of us are trying to help the victims but the prices will not be able to move for a year then there will be suppliers who will be unwilling to deliver,” he added. –Ma. Elisa Osorio (The Philippine Star)

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