By KIMBERLIE NGABIT-QUITASOL
BAGUIO CITY — The delivery of around 400,000 kilograms of semi-temperate vegetables to Manila was blocked along Claro M. Recto Avenue in Divisoria last August 4 due to clearing operations being conducted by the Manila City government.
According to Augusta Balanoy of the Benguet Farmers Marketing Cooperative (BFMC), about P8 to P9 million worth of vegetables did not reach market or consumers in Manila and were simply destroyed in the haulers vehicles or thrown away.
She said the clearing operation prevented around 60% of the Divisoria vegetable buyers from purchasing their supply of vegetables for the length of the operations.
Balanoy said the Manila city government did not inform the haulers and delivery personnel about the clearing operation. “There was no consultation, we just learned about it when buyers texted their suppliers that Mayor Joseph Estrada told them they will not be allowed to buy vegetables at CM Recto while the trucks were already on their way,” she said.
Also, they are still validating reports that the clearing operations has something to do with the anti-illegal drug campaign of the city government.
Balanoy said that the Recto area is like a night market for vegetables but the vendors were not allowed on Thursday (August 4) night due to the clearing operation. She said some 300,000 to 400,000 kilos of highland vegetables are being delivered to the Recto area on a daily basis.
“If this clearing operation will continue to block vegetable trucks from delivering vegetables, farmers in Benguet will suffer great losses while Metro Manila will suffer from price hikes and short supply of these vegetables too,” she said.
Gil Ganaden, president of the Benguet Truck Drivers Association, said they were not informed about the clearing operation. “We only received text messages from our buyers saying they might not be able to buy because of an order from their mayor (Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada),” he said.
Ganaden said that if the Manila city government would want to clear the area and permanently disallow vendors and deliveries of goods there, then it should relocate them.
The Manila City government clarified that the clearing operations are temporary and regular delivery activities will resume after the city government achieves its goals. # nordis.net