MANILA, Oct. 21 (Mabuhay) – Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II has directed the mayors of Bohol province to exercise their executive powers in order to help normalize the flow of trade and commerce, particularly the retail selling of basic necessities, in areas devastated by the magnitude 7.2 earthquake that struck Central Visayas last Oct. 15.
In a press statement issued Monday, Roxas explained that although the province has an ample supply of goods, the non-resumption of retail trading has prevented access of affected residents to basic necessities such as food, water and fuel.
“I instructed all mayors in Bohol to use all their powers under the law to ensure that all stores selling food items, water and petroleum products to open their shops,” said Roxas, who is also vice chairman of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).
”They have no excuse to remain close, especially those in the infrastructures which were not affected by the earthquake,” he added.
The DILG chief issued the order after the regional office of the Department of Trade and Commerce (DTI) reported to him that a big number of establishments engaged in retail trade have not resumed their operations in Bohol.
The DTI office cited in particular the 12 gasoline stations in Bohol that remained close as of Sunday, Oct. 20, despite the availability of stock supply.
“Ayon sa report ng DTI, may 78 na gasoline stations sa Bohol pero 66 lamang dito ang nagdesisyong magbukas matapos ang malakas na lindol. Kailangang makumbinse ang mga nagosyanteng ito na magbukas na rin kung wala namang napinsala sa kanilang istruktura at may suplay pa silang natitira (Based on the report of DTI, there are 78 gasoline stations in Bohol but only 66 decided to open after the quake. We need to convince the businessmen to open if their facilities did not suffer any damage and if they still have supplies left),” Roxas said.
He stressed that the Bohol mayors should take the lead in convincing retail traders to resume business operations in order to ensure availability of food, water and other basic necessities to residents affected by the quake.
“Kung hindi sila magbubukas ng mga negosyo, maaaring gamitin ng mga mayors ang kapangyarihan para ipasara ang kanilang mga tindahan at bawiin ang kanilang permit sa pag-nenegosyo (If they refused to open, the mayors can use their powers to shut down their stores and take back their business permit),” the DILG chief explained.
Roxas noted that personnel from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the Provincial Engineering Office have been working almost 24 hours a day to ensure that all roads remain inter-connected and that no municipality is isolated from the major highways.
Last Saturday, Roxas himself drove the lead vehicle of a convoy that visited the towns of Sagbayan, Clarin, Tubigon, Antiquera, Maribojoc, Catigbian, Balilihan and Corella to check the condition of the roads, bridges, and evacuation centers.
The convoy, which included DSWD Sec. Dinky Soliman, Bohol Governor Edgar Chatto, and other local officials, travelled 250 kilometers within six hours through reopened and alternate roads.(MNS)