DA proposes separate lane for food trucks entering Metro Manila
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Agriculture (DA) has proposed to create a food lane for truckers carrying food supply into Metro Manila, as the community quarantine measures have created long queues at the regional borders.
Agriculture Secretary William Dar said in a press briefing on Monday he will bring the issue up during the meeting of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) this afternoon.
“Itong food lanes ay nadiscuss po kahapon dito sa DA at ipe-presenta ko po ngayon sa IATF, because we want their basbas para hindi ma-hamper ‘yong free movement of goods including the food supply chain,” Dar told reporters.
However, Dar clarified that it would still depend on the outcome of the meeting today. Still, he assured the public that there would be more than enough goods inside the National Capital Region even if it is under quarantine due to the threat of COVID-19.
He also noted that quarantine measures would still be strictly followed, even if a food lane is created.
“We are coordinating with all accredited truckers, logistics and refrigerated van operators for the faster passage of agricultural goods. We guarantee that quarantine measures will still be observed while ensuring that we have enough supply of commodities,” he claimed.
“DA is mobilizing all its regional field offices to assist and see to it that food supplies are regularly moved to Metro Manila,” he added.
Last Friday, President Rodrigo Duterte placed the entire Metro Manila under a community quarantine, after rising COVID-19 cases were noted. As of Monday morning, 140 patients have been confirmed to have been infected by the latest coronavirus strain, while 12 have died.
Worldwide, over 168,000 individuals have tested positive for COVID-19, with at least 6,506 dead.
Aside from the food lane proposal, Dar said that they are opening more Kadiwa stores — a Marcos-era mobile market style that sells lowered price of goods — to give consumers more choices amid the quarantine.
“Di ba meron na tayong kadiwa dati, we are branching that out para mas maraming bagsakan, where the consuming public can buy,” the secretary said.
“In addition we are also opening as kadiwa sites itong DA compound, ‘yong BPI covered court, we can use our basketball court here, and even other spaces here, the whole idea is mas maraming areas during this time na kung saan pwedeng bumili ang consuming public,” he added.
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