January 14, 2020

Taal Volcano Explosion

N95 Respiratory Dust Mask at Lazada website.

Over Pricing N95

Recent eruption of Taal Volcano prompted some businesses to capitalize on the ongoing tragedy. From previous price of PHP30, N95 mask is being sold in the market for PHP170-PHP200 (price source Lazada). Some clever business owners would readily defend the price and would say that it was due to supply and demand; but this is misleading. When you bought the supply (from China or other countries) and it cost less than PHP30 and that you can readily import anytime without price increase from your supplier, then it is very clear that there is no shortage in supply. What was happening in the market is that some businesses are trying to control the price (fixing the price) by controlling the supply; this is not the work of natural law of supply and demand but rather a price manipulation. It’s like a practice of bad monopoly - when you know that you have control over the supply and people have no choice but buy, because there is no other cheap alternative (and because it’s a need), and then you jack-up the price (85% increase) in just a single day – then there is something wrong, that is greediness. It is very disappointing how some businesses react in times of calamity; it is not that you are prohibiting them from profiting, but when there is too much greed that is just not acceptable.

Agriculture Damage

According to government officials, damage in agriculture sector caused by Taal Volcano eruption hit PHP3 billion (and the figure is still increasing). Majority of the damage hit coffee plantation while the rest came from corn and livestock. There is also huge un-calculated damage in fisheries covering 6000 fish cages near Taal, with an estimated 15,033 metric tons of fish, which is seen to negatively affect the supply of Telapia fish in the market.

Declaration of State of Calamity

Yesterday, January 13, the provincial government of Batangas declared State of Calamity for the entire province of Batangas. According to Vice Governor Leviste, the declaration will enable the local government of Batangas to utilize funds faster for relief operation, rehabilitation, reconstruction, recovery and other works; the PDRRMC has PHP200 million in budget and the provincial government has PHP 100 million. 

Current Condition

PHIVOLCS has raised alert level 4 over Taal Volcano (level 5 is the highest); according to government officials more than 100,000 people have been evacuated (as of Jan 15) out of 459,000 populations from the 14km danger zone (17km danger zone comprise 930,000 population). 10km radius high risk zone, under mandatory evacuation include (with respective population): Agoncillo (38,059 pop.), Alitagtag (25,300 pop.), Balete (22,661 pop.), Cuenca (32,783 pop.), Laurel (39,444 pop.), Lemery (93,157 pop.), Malvar (56,270 pop.), Mataas na Kahoy (29,187 pop.), San Nicolas (22,623 pop.), Sta Teresita (21,127 pop.), Talisay (48,797 pop.), parts of Taal, Lipa City and Tanauan City.

Article updated: Jan 15, 2020; Jan 19, 2020

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