Tacloban and Cebu businessmen face Cebu media and some bloggers at Lakwatsa in Mandaeu City -- (from left) Mario Panganiban, Jean Marechaux, Andrew Ng, Joe Ng, Philip Tan, Consul Antonio Chiu, Regan King, and Junie Luna.

Tacloban and Cebu businessmen face Cebu media and some bloggers at Lakwatsa in Mandaeu City — (from left) Mario Panganiban, Jean Marechaux, Andrew Ng, Joe Ng, Philip Tan, Consul Antonio Chiu, Regan King, and Junie Luna.

Media reports of desperate survivors pushed to loot supermarkets and warehouses by hunger are largely inaccurate. Looting by armed groups complete with trucks began Friday evening a few hours after the storm struck on November 8, 2013.

“Our warehouse was hit Saturday morning after they ransacked one (owned by another businessman) the night before,” said Mario Panganiban, vice president for business development of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI). He owns a distribution company with branches in the provinces of Leyte and Samar in Eastern Visayas. Three warehouses in Tacloban City were looted.

His warehouses that contained such grocery items as toothpastes and washing soaps had a stock inventory good for four weeks. Tacloban City is the trading and economic center of the region.  The security guards were instructed to back off after they reported that the looters were armed.

His company lost an estimated P400 million of 35,000 to 40,000 cases of goods that are good for a one-month inventory of supply.

“This is a modus operandi of armed groups who are hiding with these innocent people. They have guns. They got everything. They even searched for money. They have vehicles waiting for them outside. In a condition like this, there is no reason for looting those that could not be used for emergency needs,” he told members of the Cebu media.

This photo from Rappler.com shows a man carrying a piece of machinery from a store being ransacked.

This photo from Rappler.com shows a man carrying a piece of machinery from a store being ransacked. Click photo to read the Rappler.com story.

The CCCI and businessman Wilson Ng hosted a press conference to provide an opportunity for alarmed businessmen doing business in Tacloban City to appeal for stronger government action against the looters.

Leyte Chamber of Commerce and Industry secretary Andrew Ng, said some P40 to P50 million worth of products have been looted from his warehouse. Ng and his family fled to Cebu since they did not feel safe in Tacloban anymore.

While expressing support for Tacloban City, Regan King of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) said their first priority is helping nothern Cebu which was also devastated by typhoon Yolanda.

While expressing support for Tacloban City, Regan King of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) said their first priority is helping northern Cebu which was also devastated by typhoon Yolanda.

They said received reports that subdivisions in Tacloban have already been ransacked while armed groups have been reportedly seen along the highway leading to Ormoc and Southern Leyte adding that they next target is Ormoc City, located at the western side of Leyte island.

While stressing the need for security even for the distribution of relief goods, the businessmen called on government and the private sector to maximize and help the other urban centers in Region 8 like cities of Ormoc and Maasin in Leyte and the cities Catbalogan and Borongan in Samar.

The businessmen pointed out that there is a good airport in Ormoc City that serves flights from Manila and Cebu. Planeloads of relief goods could be landed here to help survivors in Ormoc City, which is a two-hour drive from Tacloban City located at Leyte island’s Pacific side, and neighboring towns.

Doris Mongaya of PRworks Inc., said there are three 2GO Supercat trips from Cebu to Ormoc daily. A bigger ship also leaves Cebu for Ormoc on Monday and Friday.

She said the 2GO officials are also offering free transport of relief goods to Ormoc although they would remind donors to ensure somebody will receive and unload the goods when these arrive in Ormoc.

Related stories

In Tacloban City, armed groups ‘lead’ looters (Philstar.com)

300 families in Tacloban flee to Cebu (Sun.Star Cebu)

Traders seek help v. looters (cebudailynews.ph)

AirAsia Zest launches relief campaign (prworksph.com)

‘Bangon Visayas’ emerges; Cebu as hub for relief (prworksph. com)

Video clip of Mario Panganiban answering a question from a member of the Cebu media:

 

Armed groups with trucks 'lead' looting: Tacloban traders by
PRworksPH team
PRworksPH team
A talent powerhouse headed by PRworks Chief Digital Officer Emmanuel Mongaya, former managing editor of Superbalita and former city editor of Sun.Star Cebu. Team members include Global Voices correspondent and blogger Karlo Mikhail Mongaya, our Online Community Manager Ynna Erika Bisnar, digital marketing consultant Borislav Tatarov, and former Sun.Star Publishing Inc. IT boss Sammy Sumaya.

5 Comments

  1. prworks team says:

    Reports of armed men rampaging in the hinterlands of Tacloban City that caused panic turned out to be a hoax.

  2. arcie says:

    It’s not actually a hoax that the armed men are the ones who loot in Tacloban. It’s actually true. I myself is from Tacloban and I finally was able to arrive here in Manila yesterday. It’s too dangerous there. It’s just so sad how the government and the media keeps on denying that the ones who are leading the looting are armed men when it’s actually true. It’s very dangerous there in Tacloban nowadays. No more safe place to go unless there are armies surrounding the certain place. I hope everything will go better soon.

    • prworks team says:

      An update on the Situation according to Rappler:

      Philippine National Police (PNP) personnel in affected areas were themselves typhoon victims, with many failing to report for work especially in Tacloban. Quoting the PNP, Aquino said after Haiyan, only “10% of [Tacloban City’s] established plantilla actually stuck to their posts.” Tacloban had a local police force of about 352 before Yolanda struck. The province of Leyte listed 1,151 and Southern Leyte, 495, in their provincial police offices.

      PNP sources told Rappler that as of November 14, their initial list of missing police personnel in the calamity areas reached 983.

      Just a day after the typhoon, widespread looting was reported in the city, which Aquino described to CNN “as very new to our experience.” Isolated shooting incidents fueled concerns of law and order breakdown, as little aid mounted survivors’ desperation. Reports from Tacloban painted a picture of anarchy and chaos. Without access to badly needed food and water, some survivors resorted to looting ATM machines and stores, following a complete shutdown of the city’s operations.

      Response:

      The national government deployed a total of 883 security personnel to Leyte, Samar, Cebu and Panay Islands – mostly Special Action Forces (SAF) from various provinces – including more than 400 to Tacloban City alone. By Monday, 3 days after the typhoon, Tacloban City implemented a dusk-to-dawn curfew.

      But the deployment and curfew were initially not enough.

      On Tuesday, 4 days since the typhoon, 8 people died in a stampede at one of the government’s rice warehouses in Tacloban. Police and military men were guarding the Alangalang town storage facility but were overpowered by the desperate crowd. Airport security also struggled to contain survivors who ran onto the tarmac and rushed towards landing planes, either for aid or in a bid to get on and escape Tacloban.

      The military and PNP steadily increased its presence over the coming days, with the government sending almost 2,000 police, soldiers, and special forces to Leyte Island by Day 5. That day, gunshots forced the postponement of a mass burial in Tacloban.

      By Day 7, police deployment reached 1,200 in Tacloban alone, including reinforcements from Manila. The military said 15,000 troops have been deployed to various affected areas. A semblance of law and order was observed a week since the storm. As aid trickled steadily and the exodus of victims became more organized, the focus of security personnel switched from crime prevention to relief effort support.

Leave a Reply

This template supports the sidebar's widgets. Add one or use Full Width layout.
%d bloggers like this: