By Masiding Noor Yahya
MARAWI CITY: The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) Ministry of Trade, Industry and Tourism (MTIT) is urged to strictly monitor prices of basic goods in the city that have recently risen because of limited supplies.
In separate interviews conducted by The Manila Times, residents claimed that some sellers have taken advantage of the enhanced community quarantine, which had restricted limited the supply of basic goods like rice, poultry, fish and vegetables in the city.
“They are opportunists with no heart,” said former Maranao trader Abet-Lorraine Sarigala, accusing profiteers of having a “black soul.”
Former schools district supervisor Binolawan Salic Baunto has blamed the law of supply and demand for the recent price adjustment of basic commodities.
“The supply of basic commodities is going scarce and it is natural that prices will go up,” he said.
Tomaga Abdo, a Maranao traditional leader who tried his luck in retailing, explained that retailers here had no choice but to add some markup because they were purchasing from middle men transporting from Iligan.
He added that the government rolling stores should be more visible in local communities for better access to basic commodities priced at normal prices.
The BARMM-MTIT said in an issued statement that there was a price freeze at the moment.
A former employee of the Department of Trade and Industry of the defunct Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), who preferred anonymity has claimed that the new BARMM-MTIT has a limited number of personnel, which makes it challenging for the personnel to monitor the situation.
“May be they don’t know [the situation here] and that’s why they could say the trading situation in BARMM is stable. Even the provincial government of Lanao del Sur has written BARMM questioning the truthfulness of MTIT’s announcement that prices are stable and there are no unreasonable upward price movement in the region,” the former DTI-ARMM worker said.
(This article first appeared at The Manila Times on April 11, 2020.)