Agri dept assures enough food supply as ECQ imposition starts in NCR, 4 provinces

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The Department of Agriculture has assured the general public — particularly those in Metro Manila and adjoining provinces of Bulacan, Rizal, Cavite, and Laguna — that there is enough food supply even with stricter restrictions in place to contain the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) starting Monday (March 29) to April 4.

“With the declaration of Metro Manila and four adjacent provinces — comprising the ‘Greater Manila Area’ or ‘NCR plus bubble’ — under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), from March 29 to April 4, we assure fellow citizens that there is enough food for everyone as we observe the annual Christian Holy Week tradition,” Agriculture Secretary William Dar said.

“Early on, we have instructed our DA and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) regional directors to sustain the continuous transport and delivery of their respective surplus production of vegetables, fishery and livestock products and other basic food commodities to Metro Manila and major urban consumption centers,” he said.

“We will also ensure the unhampered movement of farm and fishery products — including seeds, fertilizers, inputs, feeds, veterinary drugs and biologics, and other agri-fishery materials and equipment — in continued partnership with local government units (LGUs) through the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Philippine National Police (PNP),” he added.

“Further, we are set to dispatch ‘Kadiwa on Wheels’ that will bring surplus products from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao to Kadiwa outlets and major public markets in Metro Manila, including those for cold storage at the Food Terminal, Inc. (FTI) facilities in Taguig,” Dar said.

To facilitate entry into the Greater Manila Area, the DA chief suggests that drivers and personnel of farm and fishery transport vehicles bring with them the required identification documents. While not required, it may help if they still have the “Food Lane” pass previously issued by the DA regional officees or DA-BFAR.

“We went through this similar situation last year when we were put under ECQ, and we see no reason why cannot do the same or even perform better, next week and beyond,” Dar said.

“Once again, we need mutual understanding, smooth coordination and sustained partnership among all agri-fishery industry stakeholders, local chief executives, DILG, PNP, and barangay officials and staff,” he added.

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