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Businesses are being encouraged not to take advantage of typhoon victims in the Philippines.

In the wake of reports of thievery, Malacanang advised shop owners not to take advantage of Filipinos who have been displaced by Typhoon Odette.

“Isang pakiusap sa ating mga kababayan, lalung-lalo na sa panahon ngayon ng Pasko,” acting Presidential Spokesperson Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said in a Palace news briefing.

People living in places affected by the storm, according to Nograles, are already dealing with a lot.

“Ang panawagan natin sa ating mga kababayan ay tulungan ang isa’t-isa,” says the narrator. Huwag nating pagsamantalahan ang ating mga kababayan, lalo na po iyong mga nangangailangan ng tulong ngayong panahon ng Pasko. Let us not take advantage of our fellow citizens, especially now that they are in need of assistance during the Christmas season),” he urged.

President Rodrigo Duterte, he claimed, had personally asked concerned agencies, including the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), to investigate reported looting cases.

“May instructions na po si Pangulo diyan (the President has given his instructions) in terms of implementation and enforcement,” he continued.

The Philippine National Police (PNP), according to Nograles, has also increased its manpower in areas where there have been reports of looting.

“That will address iyong needs ng mga regions na iyon (these regions’ demands for extra PNP manpower to maintain peace and order, especially doon sa areas that kung may nababalitaan po kayo o nari-report ng mga media na specific places na may (in areas where media reports concerning) looting,” he said.

He also stated that looting instances were not widespread.

“We’ve been able to maintain peace and order on the ground, and we definitely look up to the LGUs for that,” he continued.

Duterte had previously issued Proclamation 1267, proclaiming a state of calamity in the Mimaropa, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Northern Mindanao, and Caraga regions, which had been hit hard by “Odette.”

The proclamation aims to effectively control the prices of basic goods and commodities in affected areas, while also giving the national government and local government units ample leeway to use appropriate funds for the rescue, recovery, relief, and rehabilitation of affected populations, as well as the continuation of basic services.

It is also intended to expedite the government’s and business sector’s rescue, relief, and rehabilitation activities, as well as any foreign humanitarian help.

The state of catastrophe declaration will be in effect for one year unless the legislation requires it to be lifted sooner.

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