MANILA, Philippines— The Quezon City government has ordered the suspension of retail selling in the seven markets in Balintawak.
This is to maintain social distancing in the area to stop the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
A press release posted on Facebook on Saturday (April 11) said the consensus was reached following the meeting by Quezon City officials and the owners of Cloverleaf, North Diversion, Riverview I, Riverview II, Pilson’s, MC, and Edsan Bagsakan markets under the directive of Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte.
“Napagkasunduan sa pulong na itigil muna ang retail operations o bentahan nang tingi sa mga palengke sa Balintawak [It was agreed upon during our meeting that we will temporarily stop retail operations or selling of products in small quantities in the markets in Balintawak],” said Belmonte.
The move was prompted by reports that Balintawak had been crowded on Saturday despite the Luzon-wide quarantine order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease.
The statement added that that only wholesale selling and drop-off of products will be as the Balintawak markets are crucial in ensuring the supply of vegetables and other farm products in various parts of Metro Manila.
“Starting tomorrow, we expect the crowd to thin out in the area,” said Belmonte.
The local chief executive pointed out that that more than half of marketgoers in Balintawak are from neighboring cities.
Meanwhile, Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) Spokesperson, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexei Nograles confirmed the local government’s move and announced the same during Sunday’s morning presser.
Market owners agreed with the City’s move, saying the cooperation of everyone is needed to stop the spread of COVID-19.
According to Assistant City Administrator for Operations Alberto Kimpo, the market owners themselves will ensure that only their wholesale operations remain. The affected retail vendors, meanwhile, will then be accommodated by the QC Fresh Market on Wheels program.
“They will be picked up by jeepneys that the City will hire and will be brought to various Barangays where they can sell their goods,” said Kimpo.
Kimpo added that retail shoppers will be barred from entering portions of Samson Road and EDSA in front of the Balintawak markets.
The local government warned that any violation will result in the immediate closure of the violator-market. – mbmf