December 2, 2022

The provincial government of La Union has allowed the passage of Benguet farmers and traders without requiring a negative RT-PCR test from them.

Speaking on behalf of the League of Associations of the Vegetable Trading Post, Augusta Balanoy said La Union has recently issued additional guidelines on its border control policies, which includes requirements for delivery cargoes passing through the province.

La Union Gov. Francisco Emmanuel Ortega III has announced drivers and helpers of delivery cargoes will not be required to present any negative Covid test results but must present a delivery manifest or any equivalent document.

“Delivery cargoes passing through La Union shall also present other documents required by their place of destination and are likewise discouraged from alighting in the province and are given a maximum of three hours to pass through the next exit of La Union,” Ortega said.

On April 12, farmers posted on social media the long lines of delivery vehicles of farmers and buyers that were disallowed to pass through the province via Marcos Highway in Pugo due to their failure to present a copy of negative RT-PCR tests.

Balanoy said the farmers were only allowed to pass through the province after three hours despite the intervention of the Department of Agriculture-Cordillera that wrote and called the provincial office.

She said the delay has caused considerable damage on the produce when it reached its destination.

Balanoy added it is the first time the vegetable delivery cargoes were flagged down in Pugo, as farmers and traders were allowed to have unhampered passage in various checkpoints the previous months.

Agriculture Sec. William Dar has announced since the start of the pandemic the uninterrupted passage of delivery cargoes of agricultural products.

“Let’s not break the food supply chain. If one part of it is distorted, the food supply will be affected. So, let’s not hamper the movement of food supplies and the normal trade should be maintained,” Dar said. – Ofelia C. Empian