DA, DILG : ‘Unhampered movement’ of agri-fishery products through checkpoints
MANILA, Philippines—The Departments of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) will “enhance” checkpoint protocols for the “unhampered movement” of agri-fishery products amid the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine.
The adjustment of checkpoint arrangements is aimed to ease the passage of food, agri-fishery products and personnel through municipalities and barangays, according to the DA. This comes after DILG Secretary Eduardo Año threatened to issue show-cause orders against local government units (LGUs) that continue to disobey the national order allowing the free-flow of such essentials amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) had previously approved a food-resiliency protocol proposed by the DA to speed up the transport of major agri-fishery commodities to Metro Manila and other urban areas in Luzon.
“Sec. Año understands the importance of bringing our food supply immediately to our consumers who need these products the most. The IATF [Inter-Agency Task Force] has been supportive of this, and the entire DILG is our partner in the ground,” Agriculture Secretary William Dar said.
“We cannot overemphasize our battle against the potential hunger this pandemic is posing us. As much as we want to prepare for the worst, we also need all the hands we can get to prevent this from happening. So again, we need to achieve a smooth movement in the food value chain,” Dar added.
The DILG will issue a new set of guidelines for LGUs regarding the change in checkpoint protocols.
The country’s poultry industry is currently in decline due to the said gridlock on checkpoints, which has caused the farm-gate price of chicken to drop between P30 to P50 per kilo, way below the P70 per kilo in production cost, United Broilers Raisers Association president Bong Inciong said in a recent interview.
Almost half of the country’s poultry production is mainly concentrated in Central Luzon and in Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon).
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