'Better than canned goods': Tacloban buys relief goods from local farmers
TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines – The city government of Tacloban started buying the produce of local farmers and distributed them for free as relief to city residents affected by quarantine measures in place to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus disease.
On Wednesday, April 8, residents of barangays Tagapuro and Santa Elena received live chicken, bangus or milk fish, meat, vegetables, and rice from the Tacloban City Social Development Welfare Office.
The local produce are not only more nutritious than the usual canned goods. Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez said the local government also sought to alleviate the economic impact of the pandemic on local farmers and producers.
Romualdez announced the city initiative in an earlier interview. "People could not go out of their homes. Some of them lost their jobs because there is no movement in the city. Instead of giving them rice and canned goods, we want to give them nutritious food that will help them strengthen their immune system," said Romualdez.
"We want also to help our local farmers, fishermen and local producers here in the city. Let us support them. We will buy local products here and that is what we will give to the people," Romualdez said.
Romualdez said it's also good for the environment because canned goods and the usual relief packs generate more waste.
The mayor assured residents that the city has enough resources to fund the initiative. On Wednesday, the Department of the Interior and Local Government also announced that towns and cities will get a one-time grant equivalent to one month of their Internal Revenue Allocation (IRA) to respond to the pandemic.
"We are coordinating with the market [suppliers to see] where the city can get reasonable prices.... We will not schedule it every day. Instead, we will have it twice a week per barangay," he said.
"It's all for free. Let's just regulate it so everybody can benefit from it," he said.
Tacloban City was on its 20th day of community quarantine on Thursday. Cops and soldiers are manning checkpoints in all of the city's 5 exits and entry points to restrict entry to the city. – Rappler.com