Benguet veggie dealers seek exemption

VEGETABLE dealers are seeking exemption from Baguio City’s truck ban following a dialogue with city officials and other stakeholders on Tuesday morning, June 20.

Agusta Balanoy of the Benguet Farmers Marketing Cooperative said that with their product highly perishable, there is no other way but to exempt vegetable transporters as the delay may affect the supply of high value crops in the lowlands.

“Benguet’s economy is anchored on vegetables and truckers normally deliver their goods in the afternoon and they need to reach their destinations at a certain time, or else their product will perish and this will affect the prices,” Balanoy said.

Balanoy added the end result would fall on the farmers and consumers as well, adding Benguet is supplying 70 to 80 percent of the country’s vegetable needs.

Earlier, the local legislative body enacted Ordinance 05, which imposed a truck ban in the various city streets from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. daily to help reduce the monstrous traffic jams around the city, especially during rush hours.

Vegetable truckers immediately raised an uproar during the implementation of the ordinance considering the delivery of perishable goods from the La Trinidad trading post to the lowland and Metro Manila markets will significantly be affected plus the fact the delivery of vegetables to the ports will be compromised since there will be a serious delay in their travel once they will adhere to the provisions of the ordinance.

Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan, in a bid to ease the concerns raised by the truckers issued administrative order 50, is granting exemptions to selected groups of truckers from the coverage of the truck ban as a temporary reprieve for the affected sectors while amendments to the truck ban ordinance are being ironed out but the local legislative body refused to confirm the enactment of the order for still unknown reasons.

Domogan said some of the local legislators refuse to open their eyes to reality that there are a number of sectors, who are being jeopardized by their failure to act on the confirmation of the administrative order.

Under the administrative order, exempted from the coverage of the truck ban are those loaded with perishable goods, cutflower truckers, water delivery trucks, and trucks loaded with mine ore concentrate among others.

After the consultation and the numerous suggestion by the different stakeholders, the City Council led by Vice Mayor Edison Bilog, Councilors Edgar Avila, Elmer Datuin, Lilia Farinas and Benny Bomogao assured they will cautiously deliberate on the matters brought out in the session and will schedule the next consultation as soon as they can. (Roderick Osis with Gretchen Abarcar/UC intern)
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