Manila mayor allows Benguet veggie traders in Divisoria

Vegetable farmers and traders here supplying vegetables in Metro Manila will have something to celebrate as Manila Mayor Francisco Isko Moreno" Domagoso backtracked on the order prohibiting the entry of vegetable truckers from Jan. 17 to 19.

Okay na at hindi isasara (Recto Avenue), so tuloy ang purchase ng vegetables (It's already okay, it won't be closed, so trading of vegetable will continue), Agot Balanoy, manager of the Hi-Land Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative, said in a text message to the Philippine News Agency (PNA) on Thursday.

Balanoy said the good news came when Domagoso met with the leaders of the vegetable industry of Benguet, whose delegation was led by Governor Melchor Diclas.

She said she received the word from Rudy Bulawan, chairman of the grievance committee of the Benguet traders and truckers, who met with the mayor at the Manila City Hall on Wednesday.

The meeting was requested by the officials of Benguet following information of the mayor's order to close Recto Avenue from truckers on said dates to give way to the activities for the feast of Sto. NiAo.

We are grateful to the good mayor Isko Moreno for understanding the plight of the farmers and other stakeholders of the local vegetable industry of the Cordillera, said Balanoy on behalf of their 4,000 members.

Balanoy was not able to join the group due to an earlier appointment with Department of Agriculture Undersecretary Evelyn Lavina at the same hour of the meeting to discuss the proposal for the purchase of new planting materials for strawberry.

Some 1.2 to 1.5 million kilograms of assorted vegetables are transported daily from the trading post here. Of these, about 500,000 are brought to Divisoria. During holidays, the volume is doubled or tripled.

In three days if they are not allowed to reach Divisoria, Benguet farmers are expected to suffer heavy losses this January due to the low price of vegetables because of overproduction.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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