BUTUAN CITY – A business group has urged the government not to delay the deliveries of supply of goods, medicines and other basic necessities to prevent shortage and panic among consumers in the area.
Filipino Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Agusan Inc. president Joey Tan said recent delays in the entry of supply trucks worried some businessmen here and in other areas in the region.
“Personnel manning checkpoints have different interpretations of rules stipulated in orders and issuances of local government units. There are checkpoints our cargoes were allowed to pass but stopped in checkpoints in other areas,” Tan said.
He added that local governments and agencies must synchronize the rules in checkpoints and train their personnel.
He said they expect the quarantine would adversely impact businesses but added that losses can be minimized as long as the transport of goods and supplies remains unimpeded.
“There are businessmen who expect a slowdown in the economy when they reopen their establishments after the quarantine,” the FCCCA chief said.
While several stores have continued to operate--especially those that sell basic commodities, he said many have decided to temporarily close shop rather than absorb the losses.
For those who still operate, Tan said the government must ensure that their operations remain free from logistics problems or else they would be forced to shut down and cause shortages in the market.
“Our coordination with the DTI (Department of Trade and Industry) and other concerned agencies are through the online portals that they provided us. We also coordinate with the Department of Health (DOH) for the products that are under their jurisdiction. These agencies are open and the problems we refer to them are also channeled to different committees and to the LGUs,” he added.
Tan could not say whether business establishments that cater to the basic necessities such as food and medicines still have enough supplies to last for months.
“If this will last long and the difficulties in bringing logistics continue, we will experience a shortage of supplies,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Department of Trade and Industry TI in Caraga Region said it is now working with their provincial offices and the LGUs on the issues on cargo trucks transporting basic goods and medicines.
DTI-13 assistant regional director Gay Tidalgo said there were trucks transporting supplies for business establishments that experienced delays at checkpoints at the boundaries of Caraga.
“We have already worked out on this. The cargoes were eventually allowed to enter Caraga,” Tidalgo said.
She added that DTI-13 has instructed the DTI provincial offices to provide copies of the memorandum circular of DTI allowing the transport of supplies at checkpoints.
“We also instructed our provincial directors to talk with the LGUs to provide special lanes for vehicles carrying supplies of food, medicines and other basic necessities,” she said.
Agusan del Norte Gov. Dale Corvera issued Executive Order 18 last March 17 implementing a community quarantine in the province.
The order bars non-essential entry of non-residents of Agusan del Norte during the quarantine period, with the exception of those working in the province including doctors, medical personnel, and those in the security sector.
Corvera's order also exempted “persons who bring in all kinds of food, medicine, water supply, and petroleum products” although they are subjected to routine checks at quarantine checkpoints.
Butuan City Mayor Ronnie Vicente Lagnada also issued Executive Order . 20 on March 20 granting an exemption on all cargo trucks going in and out of the city.