PIA Press Release
Friday, January 13, 2012
Zambaleños call for more discount caravans amid impending oil crisisby Allen M. Villa
IBA, Zambales, Jan 13 (PIA) –- Zambaleños are clamoring for continued government social programs in the province such as the Department of Trade and Industry’s Diskwento Caravan to cushion the possible effects of an impending increase in oil prices due to the lingering turmoil in the Middle East.
Recently, Iran officials confirmed that the country is going ahead with its Nuclear Uranium Enrichment Program, defying the United States (US) and other United Nations-sanctioned countries to heed a UN Resolution against manufacturing nuclear weapons.
Nuclear talks between Iran and the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany (5+1 Group) collapsed last year and efforts to restart talks failed to prosper over Iran’s refusal to negotiate over its right to enrich uranium.
The US and Israel say a military option is possible in order to prevent Iran from making a nuclear weapon.
Around 80 percent of oil entering the Philippines comes from the Middle East and passes through Iran’s Strait of Hormuz. Latest reports indicate that Iran is conducting missile and other weapons testing in the strait, making it dangerous for oil tankers to pass through the channel.
A round of diesel and gasoline price increases as much as P1.75 have already started this week and another round as high or slightly higher is due next week. The national government has announced cushioning measures in case war broke out including reloading the Pantawid Pasada cards for public utility vehicles and fuel rationing.
DTI’s Diskwento Caravan, or roving discount fair, is one of the programs of the national government which is projected to create significant impact on the purchasing power of the marginalized people.
According to DTI data, the program generated almost P14 million in sales in the first nine months last year benefiting around 132,000 consumers around the country, spending an average of P105.65 each.
From January-September, 79 Diskwento Caravans were held, all of which gave discount rates of 5-70 percent on products as diverse as generic medicine, bread, sardines, cooking oil, processed meat, fruits, vegetables, detergent bars, and school supplies.
The caravans also served as venues for training activities and job fairs, PC for Public Schools launches, and tourism and One Town One Product program promotions. Loan checks for qualified micro, small, and medium enterprises were also presented in other Diskwento Caravans.
Apart from the roving caravans, in-store discounts were also provided in 194 participating establishments nationwide, with markdowns ranging from 5 to 50 percent.
In Zambales, around P114,000 in sales have been generated from the caravan held at the provincial capitol plaza of this town in November last year.
The event was participated by more than 10 private and government establishments and was conducted DTI-Zambales Provincial Office in coordination with the Office of the Vice Governor, the province’s Small and Medium Enterprises Council and the Philippine Trade Training Center.
According to Ched De Silva, DTI-Zambales’ point person for the caravan, bulk of the total generated sales came from the purchase of everyday essentials such as coffee, creamer, noodles and iced tea, amounting to P37,000 total.
She said that more than P33,000, meanwhile, were spent in purchasing milk, chocolate drinks, and cheese. Cooking oil came in at third of the most purchased commodities at P13,000.
Seminars on Nego Sem Basics (Entrepreneurship), Franchising and Credit Sourcing & Management, held at the Henry Byrne's Pastoral Hall inside the Saint Augustine Cathedral compound, were also conducted. Participants were existing and potential entrepreneurs and students.
Arvin Badar, Microfinance officer of Producers Bank, and Arnold R. Pamintuan, manager of Banco De Oro were the resource persons for Credit Sourcing and Management.(WLB/AMV/PIA Zambales)