LGUs buy over P1.58-B worth of farm and fishery products amid ECQ — DA

Robie de Guzman   •   May 8, 2020   •   352

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture (DA) has reported that local government units have bought more than P1.58 billion worth of farmers’ and fisherfolks’ produce since the enhanced community quarantine against novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) was imposed on Metro Manila and other areas in the country.

In a statement released on Thursday, Agriculture Secretary William Dar said that tons of agri-fishery products, ranging from palay, milled rice, corn, vegetables, fruits, pork, chicken, fish and spices, were purchased by LGUs directly from local farmers and fishers since March 15.

“We are indeed happy to report that since the start of the enforcement of the ECQ, around 245 LGUs heeded our call to patronize the products of our farmers and fishers and make these part of food packs distributed to their constituents. This number is certainly growing as we speak,” Dar said.

“The LGUs are our primary partners in cascading our sectoral interventions on production to consumption, marketing included. We would like to involve them in the entire value chain to make sure that our support mechanisms reach targeted beneficiaries,” he added.

The sales were monitored by the DA’s Regional Feld Offices (RFOs) through their respective Agribusiness Marketing and Assistance Division (AMAD).

The DA earlier called on local government units to buy agri-products and include in the relief packs being distributed to their constituents to help local farmers amid the public health crisis.

To focus and strengthen linkages between food producers and the markets, the department said it has formed four food value chain clusters – Luzon A (CAR and Regions 1 to 3), Luzon B (Regions 4A, 4B, and 5), Visayas (Regions 6 to 8, and Mindanao (Regions 9 to 13).

“Through the clusters, we plan the availability, pre-positioning, and movement of products from the municipal to provincial level, then regional, and finally among clusters,” Dar said.

“The mobility plan looks into the movement of agri-fishery commodities from producers, to traders, processors, and wholesalers/retailers, down to the household consumers,” he added.

The DA said that with the help of LGUs and other agencies, the clusters will identify prime agri-fishery commodities and potential markets, monitor the markets, and coordinate relevant concerns to develop location-specific resiliency plans aimed at attaining higher levels of food sufficiency.

“It is the DA’s job to ensure enough supply of food in the country. Our LGUs can count on us to link them to our food producers, while they help us market farmers’ produce and provide every household adequate and affordable food,” the DA chief said.

“In all, in partnership with the LGUs, the private sector, and farmers’ and fisherfolk’s groups, we ensure farmers of a ready market and steady income, as well as provide consumers with affordable, healthy, and nutritious food. Along the process, we also help stabilize the prices of basic commodities,” he added.

Dar also called on other LGUs to adopt the practice so it can be institutionalized even after the COVID-19 crisis and the country has moved on to the “new normal”.

ALAMIN: Health protocols para sa barbershops at salons na magbubukas simula June 7

Robie de Guzman   •   May 30, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Papayagan na ng pamahalaan ang muling pagbubukas ng mga salon at barbershops sa mga lugar na nasa general community quarantine (GCQ) simula sa June 7.

Sa bisa ng Inter-Agency Task Force against COVID-19 Resolution No. 41, 30% capacity ng mga salon at barbershop ang papayagang mag-operate at madagdagan ito ng hanggang 50% pagkatapos pa ng dalawang linggo.

Ang mga salon at barbershop naman sa mga lugar na nasa modified general community quarantine, 50% na ng kabuuang operational capacity ang pinapayagan at magiging 100% ito pagkatapos pa ng tatlong linggo.

Ngunit paglilinaw ng Malacañang, limitado lamang sa paggugupit ang operasyon ng mga barberya at salon at bawal pang ialok ang ibang serbisyo.

“Wala pa ring facial, wala pa rin sa kuko, wala pa ring pagtatanggal ng mga eyebrows hanggang gupit lang tayo,” ang sabi ni Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.

Bilang gabay naman sa mga magbubukas na barberya at salon, inilabas ng Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) ang sumusunod na panuntunan para maiwasan ang pagkalat ng novel coronavirus disease:

  • Istriktong pagsusuot ng face mask at pagpapatupad ng social distancing measures.
  • Kailangang maglaan ng 10 minutong interval sa bawat customer para bigyang-daan ang paglilinis o sanitation ng mga ginamit na kasangkapan at pasilidad.
  • Pinagagamit rin ang barbershops at salon ng alternatibong paraan ng appointment gaya ng online at text messaging upang maiwasan ang walk-in.
  • Kailangan ding may nakalagay na mga marker sa loob ng shop na indikasyon kung saan lang maaaring pumuwesto ang mga customer.
  • Hindi rin hinihikayat ang pagdadala ng kasama liban na lamang kung kinakailangan.
  • Dapat nakasuot ang mga tauhan ng shop ng personal protective equipment gaya ng face mask, face shield, salamin sa mata, gloves at hair caps.
  • Kailangang naka-sapatos at laging maghuhugas ng kamay ang mga empleyado.
  • Ipinagbabawal ang pagkakaroon ng physical contact sa pagbabayad, at sa halip ay gagamit ng maliit na tray sa pagtanggap ng pera.

Bago pumasok sa shop ang customer, narito ang mga dapat gawin:

  • Dumaan sa foot bath o floor mat na may disinfectant.
  • Kailangan kunan ng temperatura at lagyan ng alcohol ang mga kamay ng customer.
  • Sagutan ng kliyente ang health checklis na ibibigay ng shop.
  • Ang mga dalang gamit ng mga kliyente ay dapat i-disinfect at ilagay sa sanitary plastic bags.

Pinaalalahanan rin ang mga customer na bawal magsuot ng alahas gaya ng singsing, bracelets, relo at hikaw.

Ayon sa DTI, dapat naka-paskil sa loob ng shop ang mga guidelines na ito.

“It’s for the safety of their workers, ‘yung mga nagtatrabaho doon sa salon at yung mga customers nila itong ginagawa natin protocol,” ani DTI Undersecretary Ruth Castelo.

Ayon sa DTI, mahigit sa 400-libong manggagawa ang matutulungan sa pagbubukas ng nasa 45-libong malalaki at maliliit na barbership at salon.

Paalala naman ng ahensiya, maaaring muling ipasara ang mga nasabing establisimyento kung lalabag sa mga inilatag na health at safety protocols. – RRD (mula sa ulat nina Correspondent Rosalie Coz at Rey Pelayo)

Belmonte, nanindigan sa ipinaiiral na ‘no fitting’ at ‘no return, no exchange’ policy sa malls sa Quezon City

Robie de Guzman   •   May 29, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Nanindigan si Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte sa mga polisiyang ipinatutupad sa ilang mall sa lungsod kasunod ng pagbubukas ng limitadong operasyon ng mga ito sa gitna ng community quarantine.

Kabilang sa mga polisiyang ito ang pagbabawal sa pagsusukat ng mga damit at ang ‘no return, no exchange policy’ o pagsasauli o pagpapapalit ng biniling produkto.

Ayon kay Belmonte, ang mga panuntunang ipinatutupad sa mga shopping mall sa lungsod ay bahagi ng precautionary measure laban sa novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Giit ng alkalde, malaki ang tiyansa na makahawa sa iba kung infected ng virus ang nagsukat ng damit.

“Initiative ng city government ito, kasi alam naman natin na ang clothes store ay bukas na at alam din natin na pwedeng matransmit ang virus sa pamamagitan ng damit and the city government ay nagkusa na no trying of clothes, walang pagsusukat,” ani Belmonte.

Aniya, batid niyang maraming magagalit sa kanyang patakaran ngunit humihingi siya ng pang-unawa sa publiko dahil para din naman ito sa kapakanan ng mga residente sa lungsod.

“Sa tingin ko, dapat maunawaan nila na this is for their own health and welfare and syempre, kung bumili ka na, ang understanding dyan nasukat mo na hindi mo na sana pwedeng ibalik yun, gusto nating protektahan ang kalusugan ng ating mamamayan,” ani Belmonte.

Ang pahayag ay ginawa ng alkalde matapos punahin ng Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) ang mga nasabing polisiya sa ilang mall sa Quezon City.

Una nang sinabi ng DTI na labag sa batas ang ‘no return, no exchange’ policy dahil sa ilalim ng Republic Act 7394 o Consumer Act of the Philippines, may karapatan ang mga mamimili na isauli ang nabiling produkto lalo na kung ito ay depektibo.

Payo ng ahensiya, magpulong ang mga lokal na pamahalaan, mall operators at ang Department of the Interior and Local Government upang ayusin ang nasabing panuntunan.

Iminungkahi rin ng DTI ang pagkakaroon ng uniformed protocols na ipatutupad sa mga mall upang maiwasan ang kalituhan sa publiko. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Lea Ylagan)

No tuition hike for several private colleges, universities—CHED

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 29, 2020

The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) said several private colleges and universities have assured that they will not implement a tuition fee increase this school year.

CHED Chairperson Prospero de Vera said universities like the University of Santo Tomas and De La Salle University already announced that they would not be increasing their tuition.

“Iyang mga universities na malalaki, kayang kaya nila itong financial situation (Those big universities, they can handle this financial situation) because their sources of income are varied. They have other businesses,” he said.

CHED also assured they already have a mandate on the implementation of staggered payment on tuition fees.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday (May 28) has appealed to private school institutions to allow staggered payments. He also announced that parents, who cannot afford to pay their child’s education fees, can request for a loan.

“Itong Land Bank, bubuksan namin (We will open Land Bank) and you can borrow money to finance the education of your children,” he said. AAC (with reports from Dante Amento)

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