A Cabinet official on Sunday announced that the Balintawak Market in Quezon City will now only cater to wholesale selling of goods, amid other stringent measures to be implemented, following reported violation of social distancing norms by many shoppers over the weekend.
During the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) virtual briefing multicast by the Presidential Communications Operations Office and attached agencies, Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging and Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) spokesperson and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexi Nograles said that following a video conference meeting, the issue was discussed among members and they have decided to reduce the amount of people crowding not only in Balintawak but in all other markets as well.
“We have received reports that there are public markets that reopened yesterday that appear to ignore protocols regarding social distancing. Kasama dito ang Balintawak market sa Quezon City,” Nograles said.
“Yung retail operations po, imbis na doon sa Balintawak gagawin, itutuloy na lang po ito ng QC Fresh Market on Wheels Program,” he added.
Government has begun looking at options such restricting the operations of markets to prevent overcrowding, in the wake of a rapid increase in the number of COVID-19 cases, he explained.
“Gagawa po tayo ng joint social distancing teams consisting of AFP and PNP personnel na ide-deploy sa public markets to enforce social distancing measures. Kasama po namin sa pag-implement ang LGUs,” he said.
In its 4 pm bulletin Saturday, the Department of Health reported 26 more patients have died from the COVID-19 in the country, raising the death toll to 247.
The DOH also reported 233 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of people sickened with the viral illness to 4,428, with 17 more people have been cured of coronavirus infection, for a total of 157 recoveries.
“Ang malinaw po sa mga nakaraang linggo, base sa experience ng ibang bansa, social or physical distancing works. Staying home saves lives. Your cooperation is crucial in our efforts to save lives,” Nograles said.
To recall, the Balintawak market has been a favorite destination for vegetables and fruits bargain hunters due to its diverse produce on sale at cheap prices.
Source: Jerome Carlo R. Paunan, Philippine Information Agency, April 12, 2020