Quirino Governor Dakila Cua is offering the province’s farm produce to direct buyers to help link farmers to the market and sell their products.
During a Laging Handa briefing aired over state-run PTV4, Cua said due to the coronavirus outbreak, sales of farmers from Quirino province were affected because buyers may have canceled or reduced the volume of their orders.
This led to oversupply, specifically of tomatoes, which ended up being discarded, he said.
“It is really an emotional sight to see all those tomatoes, yung mga kamatis nila, sayang. Ito ang pang-tuition ng mga anak nila, ito ang kabuhayan na alam ng ating mga kapatid dito sa kabundukan ng (The tomatoes were wasted. This is where the tuition fees of their children come from and this is the livelihood of our people here in) Sierra Madre and they’re toiling at their best to earn a livelihood,” Cua said.
Cua said the price of tomatoes in Quirino dropped.
He said he immediately sent out teams to talk to the communities and talk to farmers to hear them.
“Bumili ako, dating bentahan po nito ay nasa P15, bumaba siya up to 4 pesos, pero now na natulungan natin umaangat na siya ulit (I bought tomatoes, before these are being sold at P15. The price dropped to P4, but now it is slowly recovering) to around P12 and we predict soon enough it will be around 20,” Cua said.
He said the provincial government helped link them to direct buyers and at the same time shorten the process and eliminate middlemen for buyers to have an open line to the farmers.
After solving the problems with tomatoes, Cua said right now, they are having the same problem with Baguio beans.
He called on all the local governments in Metro Manila and other provinces who may be interested to buy directly from their farmers.
“We still have other problem aside from the tomatoes. Now it’s the Baguio beans.”
“Meron pa kaming ibang problema bukod dun sa mga kamatis na na-solve na namin, ngayon naman yung mga baguio beans na hindi galing Baguio, galing pong Quirino (We still have other problem aside from the tomatoes. Now it’s the Baguio beans which are not from Baguio but Quirino) but they’re as fresh and as juicy as the ones in Baguio. Ito naman ang hinahanapan naming ng market linkage sa ngayon (We are now looking for a market linkage for them),” Cua pointed out.
“Kung may nakikinig po dyan at gusto bumili ng maganda at (For those listening who want to buy and have a) reliable supply ng Baguio beans, meron po dito sa aming lalawigan (we have it here in our province),” he said.
Meanwhile, Cua assured locally stranded individuals (LSIs) from Quirino of assistance from the provincial government.
He said the province is offering two options for their LSIs.
For Quirino residents who are stranded in the metro but cannot go back since school will soon resume, those have work in other parts of the country or are afraid to go back and possibly be a carrier of the virus, Cua said they are offering them financial assistance.
He said those who are interested in availing of this aid may get in touch with the Quirino Covid action center and give their details to be able to send assistance financially.
“Pangalawa, yung mga talagang nawalan ng trabaho at gusto nang umuwi dito at makasama ang kanilang pamilya, sundin lamang ang mga dokumento at proseso na nire-require ng ating (Secondly, those who lost their jobs and want to go back and be with their families, just follow the documentation and the process being required by our) provincial and municipal DRRMO offices, sila po ang mag fa-facilitate (they will be the ones who will facilitate),” Cua said.
For those who have their own modes of transportation, Cua said they will facilitate the issuance of travel passes so they can successfully travel to Quirino.
“As long as we have kababayans who need to travel back to Quirino, we’ll find a way to coordinate and collaborate.”
“Kung wala naman kayong sasakyan (If you do not have a car), we have regular assistance na nagcha-charter tayo ng mga (we charter) van o mini buses na nagsusundo ng mga tao (who fetch people) from different parts of the country – from Manila, from Cavite, Pampanga even from Pangasinan. Marami na tayong nasundo, mahigit isang libo na ang napauwi natin (We have assisted more than a thousand) since the start of the lockdown. As long as we have kababayans who need to travel back to Quirino, we’ll find a way to coordinate and collaborate. Kumpletuhin lang natin mga dokumento para hindi tayo ma hassle (just complete your documents to be hassle-free),” he said.
Cua said due to the “concerted effort” of Quirinians, the province remains as one of the areas in Luzon which free from COVID-19.
The province is now under a modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) and he said they have resumed 90 to 95 percent of their economic activities.
Cua said about 90 percent of their residents follow the safety protocols like wearing masks, safe physical distancing, proper observance of the curfew hours, and the liquor ban.
The only sector hardest-hit by the restrictions, he said, is tourism.
“Isa yong pillar ng ating development dito sa Quirino, ngunit (it is one of our pillars here in Quirino but) we will rather be safe and we ensure the safety of our people than open our tourism. So ang restrictions naming ay same pa rin (our restrictions remains the same), we encourage everybody to stay at home,” Cua stressed.
Border control, he said, is still in effect in the province, and those who wish to enter are required to fill out a health declaration and a contact information form.
Cua said since they have not conducted any mass testing yet unlike other LGUs, he reminded everyone to take extra precautions.
“Threat might be coming from outside the province, therefore let’s manage the entry and exit of people as much as effectively as possible dahil nandiyan ang nakikita nating (it is where) potential threat na ma-infect ang ating community dito sa Quirino province,” he said.