Typhoon further derails Cebu’s economic recovery, say bizmen

·3 min read

CEBU’s economic recovery will be further delayed following the onslaught of Typhoon Odette on Dec. 16, 2021.

Because of this, Cebu’s business leaders are appealing for help so that the province can right away rebuild and move forward.

“The business community is reeling from lack of power and water on top of the physical damages to assets,” said Steven Yu, president of Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

According to Yu, “Cebu suffered massive losses, the biggest since Typhoon Ruping.”

“The clearing operations are moving fast but any outside help is welcome, needed and appreciated,” he said.

Felix Taguiam, president of Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said he could not yet quantify how much Cebu lost from this typhoon, but he is sure that “losses will be big.”

“I went around the City yesterday (December 17). It is really bad. Today, (December 18) looks like chaos. People lining up for water and food. Only a few gas stations are open. Since yesterday, all supermarkets have been swarmed with people. We really need outside help,” said Taguiam.

“Property and other losses are in billions of pesos. Our recovery from Covid in terms of mobility will continue, however, recovery from economic losses is certainly set back and delayed much further,” added Yu.

Cebu’s business groups have been projecting a robust fourth quarter economic performance due to the easing of mobility restrictions, downgrading of Safety Alert Status to Level 2 and improving Covid-19 vaccination rollout.

Price monitoring

On Friday, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) 7 started conducting price and supply monitoring in the aftermath of Typhoon Odette.

In her Facebook page, DTI 7 Director Ma. Elena Arbon said Cebu City has adequate supply of basic and prime commodities and prices are still generally within the suggested retail price (SRP).

She also said some major supermarkets are still closed.

“I suspect that yesterday, December 17, people were still assessing and dealing with the damage they sustained. We went to Gaisano Metro Ayala and Colon yesterday and stocks and prices were okay. We expect more supermarkets will be opening today, December 18, and in the coming days. We will be continuing our daily monitoring this weekend and in the coming days,” said Arbon.

She said DTI 7 is also preparing for price freeze advisories should President Rodrigo Duterte declare a state of emergency in the areas affected by typhoon Odette.

Lines cut off

Communication lines were cut off beginning Thursday as typhoon Odette pounded parts of the Visayas and Mindanao.

Globe’s data and mobile services have been affected in select areas in Visayas and Mindanao due to strong winds and torrential rains.

“Outages were caused by multiple fiber cuts and the lack of commercial power...At the moment, Globe’s technical teams have started restoration efforts in areas where it is safe to do so,” it said.

Globe’s call, text and mobile data were restored on Friday.

Meanwhile, PLDT and Smart have restored wireless services in most parts of Mindanao. Repairs have also started to restore affected fixed-line services in the region.

“PLDT and Smart personnel braved impassable roads and felled trees to reach downed sites and quickly repair affected network equipment,” said Cathy Yap-Yang, first vice president and group head, Corporate Communications for PLDT and Smart, in a statement, Saturday, December 18.

PLDT and Smart are also sending technical teams to Siargao to assess damage in the area and immediately begin restoration activities. Repairs are also ongoing in affected sites in the Visayas and Palawan.

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