With typhoon Pablo expected to sweep Cebu today, business leaders said there was no need to resort to panic buying because there is enough supply of basic commodities especially in December.
“Starting September, traders and retailers already start stocking up for the holiday season so with this typhoon coming, we are not worried about supply because we have a big inventory already in Cebu,” said Regional Director Asteria Caberte of the Department of Trade and Industry.
Caberte was stranded in Bohol province since yesterday by the storm and is coordinating with her Cebu staff to monitor the buying pattern of consumers.
“So far people are calm in Cebu. My staff did not notice any panic buying in major retail chains or any changes in the prices of commodities,” said Caberte.
Price increases usually happen only after an area has been declared in a state of calamity.
“Nonetheless, we will continue to monitor activities in the region. With Cebu being a port area, a supply problem is the least problem we expect,” said Caberte.
Philip Tan, Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry president, said with the early safety warnings and weather updates, people have enough time to prepare their homes and workplaces.
“Cebu normally has a 30-day stocking level for basic commodities based on average consumption so there's really no need to be worried. Panic buying will only worsen the situation,” said Tan.
Employers should also make sure their workers are equipped with basic first aid and calamity rescue procedures, said Island Souvenirs CEO Jay Aldeguer, board member of the Philippine Retail Association Cebu Chapter .
“Preparedness is key not only for the business sector but for everyone to minimize casualties and damage. I think companies can also do basic briefing on first aid and calamity rescue procedures. Aside from that, expensive equipment and inventory should be protected, we just have to be vigilant,” said Aldeguer.
Cebu Business Club president Gordon Alan Joseph said he would limit attendance in his office and take steps to protect important documents and IT equipment.
“We should expect heavy rains and of course flooding which is always a disruption. Based on latest study, there are now over 110 flood prone areas in Metro Cebu. If rains are really heavy, we should prepared for a paralysis of traffic,” said Joseph.
“The impact will be very short term and therefore minimal in Cebu. Negros and Mindanao areas however will be sadly affected,” said Joseph.
Since Friday, outdoor advertisers have been taking down billboards in Metro Cebu.
OAAP president Meanne Alcordo said this is standard procedure when a strong typhoon is coming.
Alcordo Advertising has about 50 billboards in Cebu and about ten in Bohol which they have already removed.
“Other members have also taken down their billboards already. There are over a hundred billboards in Cebu now,” said Alcordo Advertising marketing manager Rosaline Cagang. (Cebu Daily News)