THE borders of Cebu City are open for the movement of essential products, including vegetables from the town of Dalaguete in southern Cebu.
City Attorney Rey Gealon urged farm owners from Dalaguete to continue transporting agricultural products to Cebu City.
Mayor Edgardo Labella ordered that checkpoints and other border controls must not delay the movement of transport and delivery of essential products, Gealon said during an online press conference on July 24, 2020.
For her part, Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia denied the allegations that the strict border controls caused the failure of Dalaguete farmers to deliver their produce to Cebu City.
The members of Dalaguete Agri-Pinoy Trading Center said their earnings dwindled because they could not get to Cebu City right away.
Garcia said she has talked with Dalaguete Mayor Jeffrey Belciña on how to help the farmers.
The governor asked the mayor to get the data on the cabbages that were not sold. These cabbages will be placed in two cold storage vans at the Cebu South Bus Terminal (CSBT) to preserve them.
Gealon, who also acts as Labella’s spokesperson, made the clarification after farmers from Dalaguete town said they could hardly transport vegetables to Carbon Public Market and other markets in Cebu City due to the strict border controls. Cebu City is under modified enhanced community quarantine, which is imposed to slow down the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019.
Labella emphasized in his executive orders that the transport of agricultural products in Cebu City must not be impeded. The mayor merely followed the national government guidelines, which include the “unimpeded movement of essential products, no matter the quarantine status.”
Gealon assured the Cebu City residents that the supplies of agriculture products in the city’s markets are enough.
Gealon believes that “it is more of apprehension and hesitation on the part of the vegetable growers” to pass through Cebu City due to existing quarantine status and strict health protocol.
Should there be any concern of the transport and delivery of vegetable and other agricultural products from Dalaguete and other towns of Cebu Province, Gealon said they can communicate with the office of the city market administrator to address the concern.
To also help the farmers from the mountain villages of Cebu City, the City Agriculture Department has provided them a vehicle to ensure the farm-to-market transportation
Gealon said the market office has been monitoring the prices of goods in Carbon Public Market and other markets in the city to ensure no vendors are overpricing their merchandise.
He also noted that there are fewer buyers in the markets now than before the implementation of the community quarantine.
Garcia said the prices decreased because of the low demand caused by closures of stores and food joints.
She said the demand for vegetables dipped because restaurants and hotels were closed when Cebu Province and Cebu City were still in enhanced community quarantine.
Those who usually need vegetables for their operations did not operate and they closed down their businesses. So the demand dipped, Garcia told Superbalita Cebu on July 24.
When the community quarantine started in Cebu Province, the deliveries of essential goods were not blocked as stated in Garcia’s executive orders.
Garcia said the Provincial Government became strict on letting people from Cebu City enter Cebu Province during enhanced community quarantine.
On April 23, Cebu Province was placed on enhanced community quarantine
status. The Garcia administration then converted CSBT as Bagsakan Center, where suppliers of fish and vegetables can sell.
The Capitol made the move to protect the farmers and delivery personnel from Covid-19. (JJL & ANV)