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Capiz probes profiteering in Aklan

First Posted 12:38:00 07/14/2008

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Roxas City, Philippines ? The provincial board of Capiz will investigate the alleged profiteering by some Capiz businessmen in the typhoon-hit Aklan, particularly the capital town of Kalibo.

Board member Esteban Steve Contreras said he was saddened by reports that Capiceño businessmen were taking advantage of Aklan's misery, instead of helping Aklan, by selling basic commodities at exorbitant prices.

Kalibo was hardest hit by Typhoon Frank, second to Iloilo City. Basic services remain down and commodities are scarce, forcing Aklanons to wait for relief goods or to turn to Roxas City to shop for goods.

Contreras said reports of greedy Capiceño traders were lamentable because it overshadowed the initiatives of the people of Capiz to help their brothers in Aklan.

Contreras, as president of the Rotary Club of Metro Roxas, has led the distribution of relief goods and potable water in Kalibo.

Thousands of victims of Typhoon Frank in Aklan need food and other relief goods for at least a month more, according to Aklan officials.

According to Aklan Governor Carlito Marquez, residents left homeless still need food, potable water and other assistance because they have nowhere to live and have no means of livelihood.

?We are still at the relief stage of our response,? Marquez told the Inquirer on Sunday, three weeks after the typhoon ravaged Panay Island and submerged Kalibo and neighboring areas under knee-deep mud and other debris.

While most streets have been cleared of mud, uprooted trees and fallen electric posts, offices and commercial establishments still need repairs.

Aklan, especially Kalibo, was cut off from access and communication for several days at the height of the typhoon.

At least 53 persons died and 390 were injured in the province. At least seven others are missing, according to a report of the Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council.

Kalibo Mayor Raymar Rebaldo said in a telephone interview that their efforts were still focused on providing assistance to residents with two out of three of the town's population of 71,000 affected by the flooding.

Electricity has been restored in only less than half of the town, Rebaldo said.

Residents are also dependent on two water pumping stations at Magsaysay Park for their potable water because water provided by the town's water system was not yet safe for drinking.

But automated teller machines of banks are still down after incurring major damages. /Inquirer

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