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Even before the implementation of enhanced community quarantine due to COVID-19, the Department of Agriculture (DA) caters food lane accreditation for single proprietors, cooperatives, associations, and companies involved in the supply and/or delivery of perishable agricultural commodities and inputs.

Those who completed the accreditation receive food pass and food lane vehicle pass card which grant them access to food lanes for faster delivery or movement of their shipment.

However, in view of the quarantine and order of the President to strictly follow the same, local government units (LGUs) all over the country established checkpoints delaying some of the suppliers and/or truckers of agricultural commodities and inputs due to lack of necessary documents like food lane accreditation.

Hence, DA issued Memorandum Circular No. 7, implementing the Food Resiliency Protocol, which allows unhampered and unimpeded transit in all quarantine checkpoints of identified food items, provided that proper documentation is presented to authorities (i.e., veterinary health certificate for live poultry and livestock, certification of meat inspection for fresh and frozen meat, and FDA license to operate, to name a few).

Also, a streamlined version of food lane accreditation is being conducted by the Department through its field offices and through online to facilitate the increased number of applicants and faster issuance of food pass and food lane vehicle pass card.

In CALABARZON, each food lane concern is treated independently by DA Region IV-CALABARZON to provide fast, actual solution, and assistance to stakeholders in close coordination with the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), LGUs, and Inter-Agency Task Force in the region.

Regional Director Arnel V. de Mesa called an emergency meeting on March 20, 2020 with the provincial agriculturists, provincial veterinarians, and DILG Region IV-A representative, Mr. Franz Allen Adel, to discuss issues and recommendations to smoothly implement the food resiliency protocol in the region during the enhanced community quarantine.

One of the issues tackled is the plight of small farmers, fisherfolk, and traders who only operate or move agricultural commodities and inputs within their respective municipality, city, or province.

Director de Mesa recommended the body the issuance of localized version of food pass and food lane vehicle pass card to be issued by the concerned LGU and to be effective only within their municipality/city or province. All agreed and accepted the recommendation. That said, communication to all governors and mayors in the region will be sent manifesting the said recommendation. ● (RFL, DA-RAFIS)