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ROUGH CUTS | The greedy will have their day of reckoning

Vic N. Sumalinog

IF WHAT  was posted on Facebook depicting VP Leni Robredo as claiming the people and the mainstream media are unable to get the true picture of the devastation heaped by Typhoon Odette in Mindanao and the Visayas is because there is no coverage made by television network ABS-CBN, that clearly is a big slap on the capability of the remaining networks like GMA, Channel 5, PTV 4 and what remains of Channel 13.

     Robredo’s statement is also an insult on the people of the remaining networks who risked their lives going to where the typhoon was raging just to be able to get a direct and first hand situation report on the devastation during and right after the haymaker of a storm.

     In other words the Vice President and opposition Presidential standard bearer is belittling the capability of the networks that are remaining on the air. Or it is her way of manifesting her grief over the non-operation of the opposition’s biggest financial backer and leading propaganda machine? Isn’t she assuming enough?

     And there was this report that says, Sen. Franklin Drilon and a congresswoman who was a former executive of the closed network trying to surreptitiously sneak in two identical bills in the Senate and House of Representatives, respectively, with almost the same wording. According to the report the two bills wanted to revive the ABS-CBN franchise by amending certain provisions of an Executive Order issued by the late President Corazon Aquino affecting the lifetime of franchises. Apparently the deviously created moves by Drilon and his counterpart in the Lower House were discovered and apparently are being nipped in the bud.

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      Yesterday, and possibly today, all national and local network news were roughly 90 percent devoted on the destruction Storm Odette brought to the people and places in Mindanao and the Visayas.

     Yes, until now, despite the assistance of several teams of linemen sent to Cebu by Davao Light, still not even half of the franchise areas of Visayan Electric Co. (VECO) are re-energized. Meaning hundreds of thousands of people in that Central Visayas province are still groping in the dark. Worst, the absence of power also resulted to the wide scale of water service outages in all of the areas serviced by the Metro Cebu Water District (MCWD). That is why most scenes highlighted by the media are those long lines of people waiting for their turn to have their share of water from those that have allowed their family facilities to be used, from the trucks of the water firm delivering, water refilling stations that arte still operating using their own generators and from all other available sources.

     What is even more disgusting and blood temperature rising is the taking advantage of businessmen in tripling the cost of their basically needed by the people merchandise items. Water for example, when before the Odette onslaught a gallon of water from supplier-processors cost only P20, immediately after the storm when the need for the liquid was a matter of life and death situation, the businessmen who are into retail water distribution unilaterally raised the prices to as much as P100 per gallon. And for those who have vehicles, a litter of gasoline or crude oil has more than double its price after the storm. So are the costs of other basic commodities. The prices have gone so high, courtesy of the greedy businessmen, that the bulk of the disadvantaged people in typhoon hit areas are already suffering many times more than the direct impact of the strong winds the storm brought and its resulting floods.

     Our government should have immediately done something if only to alleviate the suffering of the people. But apparently, as of the writing of this piece yesterday, we still have to hear any action from the concerned national agencies like the Department of Trade and Industry. The Department of Energy, the Local Water Utilities Board and of course from the national and local governments, any move to curb the spiraling of prices. Yes, there is declaration of “state of emergency” in some areas. And in the declaration there might be some add-on mandates to some agencies to do this and that.

     We believe however, that such are not enough. There should be clear and incontrovertible mandates demanding that there has to be equitable distribution of basic commodities, no hoarding, and freeze in the movement or upward adjustment in prices of basic goods so the affected residents in Odette-hit areas will be able to cope with.     

     Of course we can very well understand that by force of circumstance the demand for the basic products suddenly shoot much higher than the volume of available supplies. But for some better-off persons, businessmen especially – to take advantage of the situation at the expense of the typhoon victims, is morally and ethically unacceptable. That characteristic is so revolting to the stomach it is as if we are going to puke out of anger and disgust.

     One day soon, these greedy businessmen will have their own day of reckoning.

                                                         

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