Gibo warns crackdown vs price manipulators as La Niña looms

UN forecasts rare 'triple-dip' La Nina climate effect
(File photo)

Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. said Sunday, May 19, that authorities will go after hoarders and manipulators of goods and its prices who prey on consumers as the country transitions from El Niño or dry season to La Niña or wet season.

The defense chief issued the warning following the fifth meeting of the Presidential Task Force on El Niño response, which has been mobilized to mitigate the effects of La Niña as well. Teodoro concurrently serves as the chairperson of the task force.

According to Teodoro, the DND stands ready to provide support to agencies involved in the price monitoring of basic necessities and prime commodities once La Niña begins. 

La Niña, a weather phenomenon associated with above normal rainfall, could affect food production which sends prices of goods higher.

Teodoro said curbing price manipulation and holding hoarders accountable will be among the priorities of the government once La Niña begins.

“Access to affordable basic commodities such as rice is exceptionally crucial to millions of Filipino consumers. Any sudden fluctuation in the price of rice resonates on the daily lives of Filipinos,” Teodoro said.

“Whatever support is needed by the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Agriculture, rest assured we are here ready to assist them,” he added.

Teodoro said there is a need to intensify price and supply monitoring efforts in markets to protect consumers from profiteering amid the weather phenomenon. 

Last week, the national government ordered Task Force El Niño to begin preparations for the rainy season as the worst stage of the dry season was deemed over.

La Niña is expected to develop from June to August, according to a weather bulletin from the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).

Further, the state weather bureau added that the transition to southwest monsoon season may also happen in May, which may bring rains over the western portion of the country from the warm moist winds coming from the southwest.