Senator Nancy Binay on Tuesday slammed the Department of Trade and Industry for not providing safety nets to cushion the impact of high inflation as she hit the slow pace of distribution of dole to the poor, with only 5.3 million families receiving the financial aid so far.
She also expressed dismay over the department’s lack of ingenuity to come up with quick-response mechanisms to provide consumers reasonably-priced basic commodities.
Binay made her statement even as the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Tuesday warned the government that inflation might rise further if the global trade war escalated to affect Philippine exports to the United States.
“Right now we see no evident negative impact yet on Philippine exports to the US. But later on, as the trade war unfolds even more, we might wake up and find some of our products laden with excessive duties,” group chairman Sergio Ortiz-Luis said in a briefing Tuesday.
He said the trade war between China and the US carried gains and losses to countries with active trade relations with the two super economies.
Binay said the Trade department has a commitment to ensure that consumers had access to reasonably-priced goods.
“The last time we saw the [department’s] rolling stores was in Leyte during the height of Yolanda and the Marawi conflict,” Binay said.
“I hope we are consistent. With inflation and skyrocketing prices, and let’s include typhoons and other calamities, what’s keeping government from redeploying state-run rolling stores?”
Binay said it was the government’s duty to implement measures that would lessen the effect of inflation especially on poor families.
“Let us not wait for a scenario like in Latin America when children lost their consciousness due to hunger,” Binay said. She said it was necessary to redeploy the “rolling stores” to provide the public access to affordable food and other basic commodities, particularly in the remote and depressed villages.
She also said the department and the National Food Authority had the power to check and bypass the intervening layers controlled by middlemen and big business from farm gates to points-of-sale.
“They can practically reduce the prices of prime and basic commodities that consumers buy in private and public markets that are significantly lower than the suggested retail prices,” Binay said.