Sulu and Tawi-Tawi to Hit Food Crisis If Sabah Trade Will Not be Reopened

Sulu and Tawi-Tawi to Hit Food Crisis If Sabah Trade Will Not be Reopened

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Due to Abu Sayyaf kidnappings of Malaysian sailors, the Malaysian Navy blocked their border gates from Sulu archipelago traders last month resulting to the increased prices of basic commodities in Sulu and Tawi-Tawi. The people in the aforementioned Philippine provinces were forced to buy supplies from sources other than Sabah where goods are usually cheaper as said by three nongovernment organizations (NGOs).

Groups namely the Lupah Sug Bangsamoro Women Association, Tulung Lupah Sug Inc. and Tarbilang Foundation Inc. said in a statement that the national government might have to step in to persuade Kuala Lumpur to release the blocked it enforced in its borders with the Philippines.

“Food prices in Tawi-Tawi and Sulu have soared, creating a potential humanitarian crisis, as Sabah remains closed to traders from the Sulu archipelago, more than a month after its border gates were drawn in the wake of Abu Sayyaf abductions of Malaysian sailors,” said the three NGOs and that they are appealing to the Malaysian government to reopen Sabah to Sulu archipelago traders.

From P625, the price of a 25-kilogram sack of rice spiked to what is now P1,100 prior to the blockade. From P1,600 few weeks ago, sugar now sells for P2,900 per 50-kg sack. From P60, cooking oil now sells for P80 per liter. And from P30 in April, noodles are now being sold at P56 per kilogram. These were according to Tulung Lupah Sug Inc. executive director Octavio Dinampo.

And if this will not be resolved sooner, food crisis could hit Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, Dinampo added.

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