SUPPORT. The MV Felipe-FF Cruz roll on-roll off vessel rented by the Antique provincial government arrives in the province carrying various goods, including the 60 tons of assorted basic grocery items on Nov. 7. The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Western Visayas has coordinated with retailers in Iloilo for the augmentation of their stocks in Antique, one of the badly-affected provinces during the onslaught of Severe Tropical Storm Paeng. (Photo courtesy of Province of Antique)

ILOILO CITY – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has assured a sufficient supply of basic necessities and prime commodities (BNPC) for consumers in Antique, one of the badly-affected provinces during the onslaught of Severe Tropical Storm Paeng.

Felisa Judith Degala, officer-in-charge Assistant Regional Director (OIC-ARD) of DTI Western Visayas, said that the latest that was facilitated by their office was the shipment of more or less 70 tons of BNPC from Iloilo retailers via the BRP Tausug of the Philippine Navy as an augmentation to the depleting stocks of retailers in the province that arrived on Nov. 7.

There were also some 60 tons of assorted basic grocery items shipped through the MV Felipe-FF Cruz roll-on-roll-off vessel rented by the Antique provincial government on the same day.

The depleting stocks are mostly noodles and sardines but there is no problem with other types of BNPC since retailers from Iloilo were saying that they have “overstocked” for over a month in Antique.

“The sources of supply, the big suppliers are from Iloilo. As a matter of fact, groceries and supermarkets in Antique have their main branch here in Iloilo,” she said in an interview on Wednesday.

On Thursday afternoon, an additional 60 tons of goods will again be shipped via the same vessel consisting of cooking oil, detergent soap, noodles, bread, candles, and biscuits, among others.

“With the sufficiency of the supply of basic necessities and prime commodities, rest assured that prices will not move, more so that we have issued and already published on Nov. 7 the prize freeze of provinces all throughout the region,” Degala said.

Subsequently, the DTI conducts daily monitoring of the supply and compliance of major retailers to the price freeze.

Meantime, Degala added that as of Wednesday, 391 micro, small and medium entrepreneurs (MSMEs) in Western Visayas are partially affected while 181 suffered total damage due to the weather disturbance.

The first assistance that they can offer, she said, is to refer them to the Small Business Corporation, the financing arm of the DTI although it has no go signal yet whether or not they will offer a loan window for Paeng-affected businesses.

However, it has existing soft loans for MSMEs that they may opt to avail and if they have existing loans, then they can request a moratorium.

The DTI is looking at the Livelihood Seeding Program – Negosyo Serbisyo sa Barangay for those affected by the health pandemic and the Pangkabuhayan sa Pagbangon at Ginhawa (PPG) Program intended for small businesses affected by calamities as possible sources. (PNA)