September 29, 2023

The La Trinidad Vegetable Trading Post has been on a three-day lockdown to facilitate contact tracing and disinfection in the area following the newest Covid-19 positive cases in Benguet involving vegetable truck drivers and helpers, 

La Trinidad Mayor Romeo Salda, in an executive order, has placed the trading post on lockdown from noon of June 11 to noon of June 14 for contact tracing and disinfection. 

“This has only established that the LTVTP is a ‘tinder box of Covid-19’ since it is a beehive of activity where traders, disposers, drivers, and helpers meet (and their movement is) unhampered,” Salda said.

As of June 11, there are five new Covid-19 positive cases in the province wherein three are involved in the vegetable industry.

Two of the three vegetable dealers from La Trinidad are vegetable truck helpers while the other one is a vegetable truck driver from Tuba.

These cases prompted contact tracing at the LTVTP as well as a private trading area in Barangay Puguis where the individuals conducted their business.

Salda said they have strictly implemented a “no touchdown” policy for these traders and their helpers, which means they cannot go down from their vehicles once they enter the LTVTP as well as in Manila markets.

The municipal government is hard up in monitoring these veggie truckers since the Department of Agriculture stressed the unhampered movement of food products during the community quarantine. 

The mayor said a stricter monitoring of these individuals is seen to help in the spread of the Covid-19, adding they will request vegetable truckers to keep a logbook of their drivers and helpers as a way to monitor their personnel.

“This will be easier for contract tracing especially when they come to La Trinidad,” he said.

Salda said they will request Benguet Gov. Melchor Diclas to bring back the disinfection checkpoint along the Palispis-Aspiras Highway for vegetable truckers, which was earlier stopped due to the Department of Health’s warning against disinfection stations.

He said the disinfection material could only be sprayed on the tires and might help in preventing the spread of the virus since the truckers would also come from Covid-19-affected areas outside the region. 

On June 6, a 22-year-old truck helper from Sitio Botiwtiw in Barangay Balili in La Trinidad has tested positive for Covid-19, prompting the municipal government to order the lockdown of a portion of the area to facilitate contact tracing.

The mayor said the driver of the taxi where the patient boarded in going to the Baguio General Hospital due to fever and back home is still being traced.

The second case was reported on June 8, a 44-year-old male truck driver from Bangcua, Poblacion, Tuba, which is said to be the colleague of the first patient.

Both were said to have travelled to Cubao, Quezon City; Plaridel, Bulacan; Baguio City then to barangays Puguis and Shilan, La Trinidad.

The third patient reported on June 10 is a 28-year-old truck helper who is a close contact of the 22-year-old patient, who is also from La Trinidad and a resident at Little Kibungan Village in Puguis.

On June 11, two more patients were added – a 54-year-old male from Itogon and a 30-year-old male from La Trinidad but is currently deployed in Buguias.

Contact tracing is being carried out by the respective local government units.

Benguet now has seven active cases to include the earlier reported two officers from Bureau of Corrections in Manila who are from Itogon. All of the active cases are in stable condition and are recovering. 

The province records a total of 17 confirmed cases of Covid-19. – Ofelia C. Empian