DA sets rules for easier entry of food items and farm inputs in quarantine area

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 18) — The Department of Agriculture released Wednesday its Food Resiliency Protocol for the entry of food items and farm inputs in Luzon, which is under enhanced community quarantine to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease.

Among the food commodities whose entry will be unimpeded are rice, all meat (fresh, frozen, chilled), fish and all aquatic produce (fresh, frozen, chilled, and dried), all fruits (including coconut), all vegetables and spices, and sugar (brown and refined). Canned food products and all forms of cooking oil are also part of the list.

In the Laging Handa press briefing, DA Secretary William Dar said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Infectious Diseases approved the rules on Monday to “allow the unimpeded movement of cargoes.”

The protocol was created to ensure that every Filipino in Luzon will still have access to safe and affordable food despite the enhanced community quarantine. Memorandum Circular No. 07, issued to implement the protocol, lists the food commodities and farm inputs allowed to be transported into the quarantine area. 

Farm inputs are “all items/commodities that are necessary to support the production of rice, crops/vegetables, fisheries and other aquatic products, and livestock, poultry, and milk, including necessary farm implements to support production and processing operations.”

Included in the allowed farm inputs for entry are day-old chicks, breeder pigs, corn, soya, flour, wheat, veterinary medicines, feeds, fertilizers, seedlings, and pesticides.

The Food Resiliency Protocol also allows the entry of all vehicles carrying crop commodities, fishery and other aquatic products, live poultry, and livestock in the quarantine area.

These vehicles must present a shipping permit issued by the Bureau of Animal Industry, veterinary health certificate (for those transporting live animals, animal products, and by-products), Meat Inspection Certificate (for locally made meat), and Certificate of Meat Inspection (for imported meat) to allow them to enter the quarantine area.

All relevant DA personnel will have a designated area in the quarantine checkpoints to facilitate the entry of these items.

Essential farm personnel such as veterinarians, farm hands, and other farm and fisher folks are also allowed passage at quarantine checkpoints. They must possess proper documentation.

President Rodrigo Duterte placed the entire island group of Luzon under enhanced community quarantine on Monday due to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases.

As of March 20, the Philippines has 230 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 18 deaths and eight recoveries.