Issue of March 29, 2020
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Private trading areas in La Trinidad temporarily closed
by Ofelia C. Empian

PARTIALLY CLOSED -- The local government of La Trinidad, Benguet has partially closed the La Trinidad Vegetable Trading Post on a temporary basis in its bid to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease-2019. Retail activities were likewise stopped while farmers and traders are now required to be checked by authorities prior to entering the premises with their health clearances, especially because some of them are transacting with other people outside the municipality.  -- Harley Palangchao

As a continuing measure against the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019, all private vegetable trading areas in La Trinidad, Benguet will partially be closed.

La Trinidad Mayor Romeo Salda has issued executive order12-2020 on March 24 ordering the partial closure of these private trading centers until further notice.

“The private vegetable trading areas are contributory and is also a beehive of activity where traders, disposers, drivers, and helpers meet en masse and come and go even from areas where there are positive cases of Covid-19,” the order reads.

Salda said the measure is to protect the community from the threat of Covid-19, “in view of the difficulty of implementing crowd control and social distancing at the private vegetable trading areas.”

The private trading centers closed are the parking areas behind the old public market and at the Boy Scouts area in Km. 5 as well as the Farmers Center in Barangay Puguis.

The mayor also ordered the partial closure of the La Trinidad Vegetable Trading Post through Executive Order 11-2020, citing the same reason of the uncontrolled movement of people in the trading area.

The LGU suggested for other farmers and traders to use the Benguet Agri-Pinoy Trading Center due to its wider space for trading. 

Both orders took effect on March 27, wherein stricter protocols were put in place at the vegetable trading post such as proper observance of social distancing.

The LGU also conducted regular disinfection at the town’s old vegetable trading center.

However, the League of Associations at La Trinidad Vegetable Trading Area, Inc. has appealed to the mayor on the closure of the private trading areas stating it has caused long queues of farmers that may lead to unnecessary damage to their produce. 

The league, in its letter to the mayor dated March 27, added the closure also leads to the erratic vegetable prices in the local and end markets and insufficient vegetable supply to the key markets in the lowlands. 

Also, the league said the limited spaces at the trading post and BAPTC will defeat the aim of social distancing as well as undermine the strategic flow of food supply.

The league then proposed that the private trading areas should be opened provided that they shall provide their own thermal scanners and health workers to man the main entrance of its respective areas.

Stricter protocols should also be put in place by these private trading areas such as social distancing, wearing of masks and gloves, strict compliance to the curfew set at 5 a.m. to 6 p.m., among others.

It also proposed for the coordination with the Benguet Police Provincial Office for them to request augmentation of at least nine policemen to help in the augmentation in the areas.

“This way, the private trading areas will still be able to accommodate farmers and their produce and will lessen the long queue of farmers, lessen vegetable damages and will support the food security program of the government,” the letter reads.

The group also appealed for the municipality to consider the proper scheduling of buyers as well as closing all trading areas on Sundays.

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