More Mindanao LGUs launching mobile stores during COVID-19 pandemic
As localities in Mindanao are placed under varying degrees of community quarantine to prevent more infections of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19), people’s access to food has been curtailed.
To help ease the situation, many local governments are rediscovering the magic of mobile peddling which, during normal times, is usually done by informal fish retailers who reach even the remotest village, as long as there’s a trail that a motorbike can tread on.
Only that today, Saturday, the challenge was to bring a host of essential goods, especially food, nearer to the people.
On Thursday, April 9, the Digos City government launched its mobile market, initially for four far-flung villages, to expand later on.
Digos Mayor Josef Cagas said the mobile market would sell rice, corn grits, vegetables, various meat products, spices, and canned goods, among others.
Bernardo Quipit Jr., city economic enterprise manager, said that many vendors in the public market expressed interest in joining the mobile market to compensate for lost sales.
The vendors also agreed to follow the commodity prices prescribed by the Department of Trade and Industry, Quipit added.
In Labangan, Zamboanga del Sur, the local government bought the produce of farmers in one village that had been locked down because one resident tested positive for COVID-19.
Native chickens, vegetables, root crops, among others, were then sold around town by a mobile retail outlet at farm gate prices, making these cheaper than at the public market. This farmer-support will last until the lockdown is lifted.
In General Santos City, the local government divided its territory into 12 clusters and organized four mobile food retail outlets, or moving talipapa. Each outlet serves three clusters, going around the areas based on a daily schedule.
Small stores in the communities are also being accredited as barangay retail outlets and partner with stores based in malls, which are temporarily ordered closed, to sell essential goods.
With as many options to go to for their needs, those living in each cluster are not allowed to cross to another if the essential goods they need can be had in their cluster.
These measures are thought to bring down the number of people converging in downtown for their needs.
To further cut the number of people going to stores which are only located at downtown, the local government implemented an odd-even scheme for motor vehicles.
Vehicles with license plates ending in odd numbers are allowed on the road on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, while those ending in even numbers are allowed on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. No vehicles are allowed on Sundays.
For smaller towns with lesser resources like Sagay in Camiguin and Baroy in Lanao del Norte, every village was assigned particular days and times within the day for their residents to buy goods in the public market.
This way, every family will have equal access to food, and shopping is done in an uncrowded public market.
In Baroy, Lanao del Norte, the public market is closed on Sundays for disinfection.
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