THE Philippine National Police leadership yesterday said it has given orders to its men to ensure the safe and unimpeded passage of all agribusiness and agricultural products and personnel in all Quarantine Control Points in the country specifically in Luzon in accordance with the policy made by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of an Emerging Infection Disease.
PNP chief, General Archie Francisco F. Gamboa, reiterated their guidelines in support of the IATF-MEID Resolution No. 14 passed last Sunday.
The PNP chief cited Paragraph C of Resolution No. 14 which says that “to avert any threat of shortage of basic food, essential hygienic products and medical products, the IATF reaffirms its earlier resolution to ensure the unimpeded movement of all types of cargo (food and non-food), and allow the passage of personnel of business establishments permitted to operate during the Enhanced Community Quarantine, subject to the presentation of proof of employment, and residence.”
Guidelines issued by the PNP thru the Joint Task Force CV Shield that categorize Authorized Persons Outside of Residence (APOR) during the Luzon-wide Enhanced Community Quarantine Period from March 17 to April 15 specifically identified documented Agribusiness and Agricultural Workers as among Authorized Persons entitled to unhampered passage in QCPs subject to mandatory biosafety protocols.
They include farmers, farm workers, fishers, employees of agricultural supply stores and outlets and veterinarians and employees of veterinary clinics.
The PNP guidelines supported the pronouncements of Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo M. Año in support of a Department of Agriculture Memorandum Circular No. 9.
The MC provides that “all farming and fishing activities shall continue to ensure sufficient food supply across the country. These activities include, but not limited to land preparation, planting, crop maintenance, harvesting, threshing, drying, milling, sorting, packaging and trading.”
The same DA memorandum provides that all farmers, farm workers, fisherfolk and agribusiness personnel shall be exempt from home quarantine provided that they don’t exhibit any one of the COVID-19 symptoms; the number of working farm personnel is at a minimum, and safety protocols are strictly observed.
PNP Deputy Chief for Operations and the task force commander of the Joint Task Force COVID-19 Shield, Lieutenant Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar said that on orders of Gen. Gamboa, they are ensuring that basic goods will reach the market on time during the enhanced community quarantine to allay fears of the public and prevent the possibility of looting and other illegal activities.