TUBA, Benguet– The municipal government criticized the agriculture department for allegedly issuing food passes for sports utility vehicles (SUVs) and cars that are not actually being used to transport agricultural products from the farm to the market.
Mayor Clarita Sal-ongan narrated that because of a number of incidents that transpired in several border checkpoints in the municipality, the municipal government was constrained to make the appropriate representations with the agriculture department’s regional office, through the provincial agriculturist’s office, to stop issuing food passes to residents of the town’s 13 barangays as it will be the concerned offices in the locality that will issue the same because they know their constituents.
She claimed that in one instance, a closed van supposed to be transporting food was flagged down by personnel of the Tuba Municipal Police Station along the Baguio-Asin-San Pascual-Tubao National Road and when the driver was requested to open its carrier to ascertain its contents, it was discovered that there were only two individuals who were on board despite bearing the food pass issued by the agriculture department
The municipal chief executive stated the vehicle was immediately sent back by the police personnel managing the checkpoint to its point of origin because the individuals on board did not even possess their required travel documents such as travel authority and medical certificates from the city or municipal health officer from their point of origin.
On the other hand, she revealed that alert police personnel also apprehended a vehicle loaded with several cartoons of liquor purchased in La Union in the border checkpoint along Palispis-Aspiras Highway.
According to her, the over 20 cartoons of liquor were eventually confiscated by the personnel of the Tuba Municipal Police Station while the occupants of the vehicle were charged for violation of the town’s liquor ordinance.
The municipal mayor explained that because of the aforesaid incidents, the municipal government thought it best that it will be the one to issue the required food passes for their constituents instead of the agriculture department because they know who are the individuals who deserve to be issued food passes.
Sal-ongan emphasized that the movement of people is being restricted to prevent the rapid spread of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) thus local officials are wondering why there were food passes issued to SUVs and cars even if the said vehicles are not actually transporting agricultural produce which defeats the purpose of the community quarantine, thus, the need for the municipal government to take charge of issuing such passes so that those that are really engaged in agriculture will be the ones that will possess such passes.
She expressed optimism that the smooth issuance of food passes by the municipal government will continue during the community quarantine so that people will be compelled to comply with the stringent health and safety protocols.
Photo lifted from Department of Agriculture – Bureau of Animal Industry Facebook page
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