BAGUIO CITY – Workers at the La Trinidad Vegetable Trading Post (LTVTP) were directed to strictly follow the safety and health protocols and wear their identification cards and uniforms when entering and staying at the facility.
The move is aimed at serving as a control measure to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pending the swab test results of all workers as it logs 45 cases in the area.
The advisory came on November 9, on the same day the municipal government suspended the implementation of Executive Order (EO) 096 series of 2020 issued by Mayor Romeo Salda on November 6 after the marathon testing conducted by the National Task Force (NTF) last week yielded an initial 12 Covid-19 positive cases.
The EO imposed the mandatory presentation of a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test result before a worker can be allowed entry at the LTVTP.
Salda, in a press conference on Tuesday, said they suspended the Executive Order (EO) so as not to disrupt the movement of vegetables that farmers bring to the trading post, which are transported to various markets nationwide.
The LTVTP is where 80 to 85 percent of highland vegetables pass before they are brought to the markets nationwide.
“Most of the disposers do not yet have swab test results. Preventing their entry will make the farmers suffer because there will be nobody to market or buy the produce of the farmers,” Salda said during the press conference.
The advisory said the swabbing of all LTVTP porters, packers, truckers, disposers, and traders is expected to be completed within the week.
It also said that health and safety protocols will be enforced more strictly.
“This is especially in light of the 45 positive Covid-19 cases as of 9:00 a.m. on Nov. 9 logged under the second mass swabbing last Nov. 6,” the advisory further said.
The local government unit has requested a third round of mass testing in the municipality on November 13, which will allow other workers to be swab-tested.
The municipal government on November 6 has ordered the temporary closure of the LTVTP for disinfection following the discovery of 12 positive Covid-19 patients involving workers at the biggest vegetable trading area where traders from Metro Manila and other parts of the country buy highland vegetables in bulk.
However, considering the effect on the supply of vegetables nationwide, the local government unit suspended the PCR-test result requirement to assure first that all of the workers will be swab tested.
Salda said the trading post is a beehive of activity where traders, disposers, drivers, and helpers meet.
He said around 500 trucks and 3,000 workers come and go at the facility every day, requiring that everybody is tested.
He said the 45 positive cases, including their close contacts, have been placed on isolation and quarantine, respectively, to prevent them from further spreading the virus.
Aside from the mandatory wearing of IDs and uniforms, workers are also mandated to wear a face mask at all times. Wearing slippers, short pants, and sleeveless shirts is also prohibited. Liza Agoot / PNA – northboundasia.com