Unimpeded movement of food items allowed in checkpoints: Dar

Agriculture Secretary William Dar said on Wednesday the movement of all food and production items must be unhampered amid the implementation of a Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine.

In a press briefing, Dar said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has instructed the Philippine National Police (PNP) to allow the unimpeded transit of cargoes in all quarantine checkpoints to ensure that the public will have access to safe and affordable food.

“The PNP is instructed to allow the unimpeded movement of cargoes subject to its authority to conduct random checking in checkpoints for the purpose of ensuring that protocols on the strict home quarantine are observed,” Dar said.

“Lahat po ng aktibidades o mga (All activities or) inputs in relation to agricultural production and food production, kasama na ang (including) processing and marketing, including that of delivery or movement of these cargoes and products, ay talaga dapat (should definitely be) unrestricted,” he added.

Dar said the interagency task force has adopted Memorandum Circular No. 7, which stipulates the implementation of food resiliency protocols.

Under the circular, all vehicles carrying crop commodities must be allowed passage.

Fishery and other aquatic products with carriers must also be allowed.

Farm inputs, such as seeds, feed ingredients, and fertilizers, are also included to ensure the continuous and sustainable production of essential food items.

As for processed meat products, traders can apply for accreditation at the National Meat Inspection Service.

President Rodrigo Duterte has placed the entire island of Luzon under the enhanced community quarantine until April 12 due to the rising number of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases in the country.

Over the period, work and mass public transportation are suspended for a month.

However, health and emergency front-line workers are still required to go to work.

Among those exempted are employees of the Department of Health (DOH), DOH-accredited hospitals, hospitals of local government units, and provincial city and rural health units.

Also exempted are private health workers and volunteers of the Philippine Red Cross and the World Health Organization.

The Philippines has 187 confirmed cases of Covid-19, with 14 deaths.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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