Transport of basic necessities should be unimpeded, DTI chief reiterates


Posted at Mar 18 2020 01:05 AM

MANILA - All forms of transport carrying basic goods and necessities, like food and medicine, should not be stopped from going to Metro Manila and other places in Luzon even if they're from areas where lockdowns are in place, the Philippines' trade chief clarified on Tuesday.

"Pagkagaling [sila] sa ibang probinsya, kahit may quarantine o lockdown doon, dapat unimpeded pa rin (If they're from other provinces, even if there's a lockdown there, they should be unimpeded)," Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said in a press briefing.

Reports of trucks and other vehicles stopped from transporting necessities to other provinces, including Metro Manila, reached his office, Lopez said.

"Napaka-importante isang polisiya lamang at lalo na sa wala nang pipigil pa sa cargo. Ganun po usapan with the military and the PNP (Philippine National Police)," Lopez said.

(It's important there's only one policy, especially for cargo...that no one will stop cargoes. That's what we talked about with the military and the PNP.)

President Rodrigo Duterte placed Luzon under "enhanced community quarantine" on Tuesday to combat the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) that has infected more than 180 people in the Philippines, 14 of whom have died.

Strict home confinement, suspension of public transport, regulation of food provision and essential health services, and heightened presence of uniformed personnel to enforce isolation procedures were ordered.

Movement of cargoes, however, is exempted. Farmers and other food producers are also allowed to travel, but subject to quarantine checkpoints.