THE town of E.B. Magalona under Mayor Marvin Malacon started to endeavor on how the government could help stimulate the economic recovery and healing in their town with the severe impact of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) on the livelihood of the people.
For more than three months already, most of those belonging to the meager income category and even those who have savings have suffered from the dormancy due to the Covid-19 health risk. It is high time that the local government unit (LGU) should consider the need to stir the economy while maintaining the health protocol that could deter the spread of Covid-19 infection.
E.B. Magalona is a known supplier of blue crab meat to the United States, Europe, and Asia. These countries need about 35,000 cans of crab meat every month and E.B. Magalona supplies part of the said demand.
But even before March where the enhanced community quarantine was first enforced, the four crab meat plants in the town have ceased operation due to the health constraint.
Until now, they have not resumed operation which is painful for those who have lost their jobs and livelihood, he said.
This has led the town mayor to plan out the economic recovery and healing program for his town.
They are being assisted by their economic consultant Dr. Francesca F. Llamas towards the attainment of their intended economic recovery and healing program.
The local government is going towards food security and empowerment of their residents including overseas Filipino workers and locally stranded individuals (LSI) who have returned home jobless.
"We have conducted an inventory of our resources so that we can determine our capability to invest in farm machinery and logistics. We need to start moving to help our local farmers and crabs industry players achieve recovery," Malacon said.
The town is composed of five upland and nine coastal villages that produce various kinds of vegetables, root crops, coffee, rice and the export-quality blue crabs.
He said that it is given that Covid-19 is already there but with proper discipline, the spread of the infection can be prevented.
But the other kind of virus that they want to address is the effect of Covid in the livelihood and economy of the town, he said.
They have an oversupply of blue crabs right now and it is quite sad that the sellers only dispose of it at a super discounted rate.
It is the resellers and the middlemen who earn more than the sellers themselves.
People don't go out to buy crabs in the town. The producers are just disposing of the supply to those who come to them to buy it at a low rate.
The government needs to come in to help them market the crabs but we have to institute innovation aside from selling the raw crab meat. We might venture in producing crab meat dumplings and crab meatballs and have new packaging as a come on to the customers, he said.
Malacon is doing his best on how to assuage the impact of Covid-19 by making some shifts towards people's empowerment.
They will also make an inventory of the skills of the OFWs and LSIs so that they could also provide them livelihood assistance amid the global crisis.
The mayor urged his constituents to just be patient and cooperate in whatever means that could help the LGU achieve its holistic approach towards the attainment of its economic recovery and healing that could benefit both the town and its people.