Quarantine feeding program poses 'logistical nightmare': Marikina mayor

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 17 2020 11:39 AM | Updated as of Mar 17 2020 12:32 PM

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MANILA -- An order by President Rodrigo Duterte for local governments to feed their constituents during the monthlong quarantine of Luzon poses a "logistical nightmare", Marikina Mayor Marcelino Teodoro said Tuesday, as he sought additional guidelines on the move to contain the novel coronavirus pandemic. 

Duterte placed all households in Luzon under home quarantine until April 12 and ordered village officials to feed their constituents. Teodoro said he understood this meant that local governments should use their quick response fund to ensure food for residents. 

Some cities like Marikina, however, have a smaller budget compared to their neighbors and can only feed residents for a few days, he said. 

"Question ng resources iyan e. Hindi naman puwedeng sa mahaba-habang panahon magpakain ka sa maraming bilang ng tao. Maaaring sa sandaling panahon pero on a long-term basis, logistical nightmare iyan para sa marami, lalo na sa mga lungsod na katulad namin," he told DZMM. 

(That's a question of resources. You cannot feed a large number of people for a long time. Perhaps its's possible for a while, but on a long-term basis, that's a logistical nightmare for many, especially for cities like ours.) 

Local governments can request help from the provincial government and the social welfare department to feed residents, Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Ano said in a separate interview. 

Teodoro said the social welfare department did not have implementing guidelines yet as of Monday night. 

Mayors in Metro Manila will hold an emergency meeting about the feeding program later Tuesday, he said. 

Teodoro said he also urged the private sector and other cities to help with food provisions. 

"Ganoon naman ang lakas nating mga Pilipino e... iyong pagdadamayan natin, bayanihan," he said. 

(That's our strength as Filipinos anyway: our empathy, communal spirit.) 

"Ang ayaw nating mangyari magutom [ang mga tao]. Magpa-panic iyan saka magkakagulo nang husto iyan," he added. 

(We don't want the people to go hungry. They will panic and chaos will ensue.)

Teodoro said he had assigned a special lane for food and supply deliveries in his city, after checkpoints increased the travel time for some motorists for up to 5 hours late Monday. 

With the mass public transport suspended during the lockdown, the mayor also urged establishments like banks and supermarkets that need to continue their operations to ferry their workers to and from their offices. 

Teodoro also said lines were long in his city's banks, markets and drugstores as his constituents prepared for the lockdown. He said he also noticed some residents flocking to a pawnshop. 

"Mukhang nagsasangla iyong iba dahil maaaring siguro silang daily wage earner. Naghahanda rin sila sa kawalan ng pagkakataong magtrabaho," he said. 

(It seems that some residents are pawning off their valuables. They could be daily wage earners preparing for the possibility that they could lose their income.)

The Philippines so far confirmed 142 cases of the novel coronavirus, including 12 deaths and 3 patients who recovered. 

Marikina monitored some 110 people for possible infection, of whom 5 were cleared by the health department on Monday and around 40 would finish their home quarantine on Tuesday, said Teodoro.