Año threatens action vs LGUs blocking goods
Interior Secretary Eduardo Año has threatened to issue show-cause orders against local government units (LGUs) that continue to disobey President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to allow the free-flow movement of food and nonfood essentials during the coronavirus health crisis.
“We are going to call all these LGUs and if they would still not obey, we are going to issue them show-cause orders,” Año said in a phone interview.
“It is clear that all movement of cargo should remain unhampered. We should not be receiving reports like this anymore.” (See related story in Regions, Page A9.)
Protocol, advisoryReports continue to persist of several local governments refusing to allow truckers and suppliers to pass through their respective areas despite a national order exempting them from the enhanced community quarantine.
The gaps in delivery have led to a shortage of supply and surge in price of goods in several areas in Metro Manila.
The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has approved a food-resiliency protocol proposed by the Department of Agriculture (DA) to speed up the transport of major agrifishery commodities to Metro Manila and other urban areas in Luzon.
The protocol includes the free movement of farmers, fishers, workers in food processing and manufacturing firms, and food supply chain logistics providers.
“We are avoiding any spoilage of our vegetables and other products because of the slow movement of these commodities. Let’s make food delivery efficient and fast so that no [Filipino] would be hungry,” Agriculture Secretary William Dar said.
The DA protocol was also reinforced by an earlier advisory that Año had issued to provincial governors, city and municipal mayors, barangay leaders and other LGU officials, as well as regional directors and field men of the Department of the Interior and Local Government.
“All LGUs are advised to adhere to protocols prescribed by the IATF and concerned [national government agencies] in ensuring food availability and sufficiency during the COVID-19 crisis,” Año had said.
Both memos stated that food production shall continue by allowing all farming and fishing activities such as land preparation, planting, crop maintenance, harvesting, threshing, drying, milling, sorting, packaging and trading.
Healthy farmers, farm workers, fishers and agribusiness personnel must be exempted from home quarantine provided that they follow safety protocols.
Further, agricultural supply stores and veterinary clinics shall remain open during business hours.
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