Aside from allowing local governments to access their calamity funds, President Arroyo bared a second reason Saturday for placing the entire country under a state of calamity: to go after profiteers.
Fears have been raised that the government was taking advantage of the crisis caused by tropical storm “Ondoy" to raise funds for next year’s general election.
Critics wondered why other provinces not affected by Ondoy were also being allowed to tap emergency funds when they are not really suffering from a state of calamity.
But Mrs. Arroyo explained that the nationwide state of calamity will allow government to run after traders who will go to areas not under a state of calamity to sell their products at higher prices.
“What was observed was that when there was price control imposed in a given area some supplies were diverted. So (this was also) for purposes of price control," she said at a meeting of the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC).
On the other hand, she said one of the shortcomings of the present Price Law is that the local government can use the calamity funds in an actual state of calamity and not for risk reduction.
Earlier, Favila admitted the decision stemmed from the executive session of the NDCC in Cainta, Rizal, where they discussed the matter.
“There are unscrupulous traders who go to nearby areas not under a state of calamity, then sell at higher prices. We discussed it in the NDCC meeting’s executive session," he said in an interview on dzBB radio.
He said the nationwide state of calamity was a recommendation of the National Price Coordinating Council. - GMANews.TV