By Gerico Sabalza, PNA

TACLOBAN CITY – Some 310 vehicle passes have already been issued to transporters of essential and perishable goods in Eastern Visayas (Region 8), the Department of Agriculture (DA) reported on Tuesday.

The issuance of Food Lane Conduct Pass stickers started on March 19 to ensure the smooth delivery of agricultural and fishery products in areas under community quarantine, Francis Rosaroso, DA Region 8 information officer, told Philippine News Agency (PNA).

“There are initial field reports that some truckers are having a hard time in the delivery of goods due to massive traffic buildup at checkpoints set up along highways and other strategic areas throughout the country,” he said.

The DA’s regional agribusiness and marketing assistance division manages the accreditation process to ensure the regular transport of essential goods across the region.

Rosaroso said the number of food lane applicants is expected to increase due to the upcoming peak harvest season in key production areas in the region – Leyte, Southern Leyte, and Biliran provinces.

This prompted the regional office to deploy agricultural programs and coordinating offices and tapped the governors and mayors, provincial and local agriculturists to facilitate the processing and issuance of the food lane permits.

Rosaroso asked food producers, manufacturers, traders, and importers to secure the supporting documents needed such as valid identification card reflecting the company or enterprise they are affiliated with, and the delivery vehicle’s certificate of registration, including the name of the driver.

The food pass covers all types of vehicles carrying perishable agricultural commodities, live animals, fishery products, processed food products, and agricultural inputs.

Photo courtesy of DA Region 8

The list of accredited food lane suppliers will be provided to the Department of the Interior and Local Government, the Philippine National Police, and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority for proper dissemination to personnel manning the checkpoints.

“This is to expedite inspections and avoid hassles in passing through the food lanes set up nationwide,” Rosaroso said.

In Eastern Visayas, all six provinces have declared community quarantine as an urgent response to prevent the spread of the highly contagious coronavirus disease
2019 (Covid-19).

The Department of Health on Monday confirmed the first Covid-19 case in the region, a 51-year-old female from Catarman, Northern Samar. The region has also recorded a total of 242 persons under investigation (PUIs) for Covid-19. (PNA) 

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