FOOD security is one of the top priorities of the administration of President Duterte, along with peace and order and the reduction, if not total eradication, of corruption and the illegal drug menace.
Everytime Duterte and other concerned government officials underscore the importance of ensuring food security in this poverty-stricken Southeast Asian nation, the Filipino people applaud them.
This is not surprising because the country is still teeming with hoarders, profiteers and other unscrupulous traders, who continue to torpedo efforts to meet the food needs of the booming population.
And today, the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has not only affected the more than 100 million Filipino people but the country’s food security as well, according to Senator Win Gatchalian.
Despite efforts to protect the remaining carabao in the country, Senator Gatchalian said that some wet markets in the metropolis have resorted to selling carabao meat due to beef shortage.
“Ito’y nakakaalarma dahil sinisikap ng gobyerno na paramihin ang mga natitirang kalabaw. Kailangang-kailangan ito ng mga magsasakang hindi kayang bumili ng traktor,” a small-time farmer said.
With the implementation of the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine, traders and farmers find it difficult to transport goods from the provinces to the Metropolitan Manila (MM) area.
Note that 80 percent of the country’s highland vegetables, such as carrot, cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli and lettuce, come from Benguet in Northern Philippines.
The Philippine Association of Meat Processors, Inc. has warned of a possible shortage of meat products by mid-April because quarantine restrictions impede the delivery of raw materials to manufacturing plants.
Poultry farmers, on the other hand, find it difficult to supply chicken to the heavily-populated Metropolitan Manila area and some parts of Luzon due to many roadblocks and travel restrictions.
What is needed is for concerned government authorities to get their acts together to ensure the smooth and speedy delivery of goods from the provinces to the nation’s premier region.
“Iba ang sinasabi sa taas pero iba (naman) ang ginagawa sa baba,” lamented Senator Gatchalian.