To avert food shortage, hunger treat food, logistics, transport sector workers as anti-COVID front-liners too

STATEMENT OF SENATORS LEILA DE LIMA, FRANKLIN DRILON, RISA HONTIVEROS, FRANCIS PANGILINAN ON COVID HEROES

“We are on our third day of the enhanced community quarantine. The 60 million in Luzon, especially the 12 to 14 million in Metro Manila, most of whom are no-work-no-pay workers, are starting to feel the pressure of not earning a living and not having enough food to eat.

We laud the efforts of government and private sector in working together to allow medical workers to perform their crucial task in this time of health crisis.

The selfless courage of the people in the health sector are being complemented by free rides, meals, protective gear, and other supplies as they continue to be at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19.

To avert food shortage, hunger, and even looting, we believe it is time to focus the spotlight as well to the other people on the frontline who are similarly critical in our day-to-day survival.

They are the farmers and fisher folk who are not able to farm, fish, and sell their produce and catch due to the lockdown. If they are not earning from their produce, farmers will not till the land anymore. As they cannot immediately harvest what they sow, farmers need to continue farming and earning off farming.

They are the workers in the food, medicine, and medical supply manufacturing sector who order raw materials from their suppliers, run their operations, and distribute their products. They ensure adequately filled food shelves in sari-sari stores, groceries, supermarkets, pharmacies, and hospitals.

They are the drivers and logistics personnel who ferry and deliver food and other essential supplies. They are helping keep our economy — and our people — on life support during these uncertain times.

We thus call on the national government to treat our food, transport, and logistics sector workers as anti-COVID front-liners too.

Like our health workers, their work is essential to containing the disease.

They, including our workers in the public mass transport system, should also be provided with protective gear and given hazard pay as they carry on with their jobs.

Especially with suspended importation, the national government must provide both the budget and the system to keep the food supply going. It needs to ensure and beef up the food supply chain.

Our unity, cooperation, and compassion for each other are the most powerful weapons against this disease.

Ituring din ang mga manggagawa sa food, logistics, transport sector bilang mga anti-COVID frontliners

Nasa ikatlong araw tayo ng enhanced community quarantine. Nagsisimulang madama ng 60 milyong nasa Luzon, lalo na ang 12-14 milyong nasa Metro Manila na karamihan ay mga manggagawang isang kahig, isang tuka, ang kagipitan bunsod ng kawalan ng kita at di sapat na makakain.

Ikinatutuwa natin ang pagsisikap ng gobyerno at ng pribadong sektor sa pakikipagtulungan nila para mabigyan ng pagkakataong gampanan ng mga medical worker ang kanilang tungkulin sa ganitong panahon ng krisis.

Ang walang pag-iimbot na katapangan ng mga nasa sektor pangkalusugan ay napupunan ng mga libreng sakay, pagkain, protective gear, at iba pang kagamitan habang patuloy silang nangunguna sa pagkikipaglaban sa COVID-19.

Upang maiwasan ang kakulangan sa pagkain, ang kagutuman, at kahit na ang pagnanakaw, naniniwala tayo na panahon na para ibaling din ang pansin sa iba pang mga taong nasa frontline na kritikal din sa ating pang-araw-araw na kaligtasan.

Sila ang mga magsasaka at mangingisda na hindi nakakapagsaka, hindi nakakapangisda at hindi naibebenta ang kanilang naani at nahuli bunsod ng lockdown. Kung hindi sila kumikita sa kanilang inani, hindi na magtatanim ang mga magsasaka. Dahil hindi nila agad-agad naaani ang kanilang ipinunla, kinakailangang tuloy-tuloy ang pagtatanim ng mga magsasaka at ang pagkita sa pagsasaka.

Sila ang mga manggagawa sa sektor ng pag-manufacture ng pagkain, medisina, at kagamitang medikal na nag-o-order ng mga raw material sa kanilang mga supplier, nagpapatakbo ng kanilang operasyon, at nag-di-distribute ng kanilang produkto. Tinitiyak nila na puno ng laman ang mga sari-sari store, grocery, supermarket, botika, at ospital.

Sila ang mga tsuper at logistics personnel na naghahatid ng pagkain at iba pang mahahalagang kagamitan. Tumutulong silang mapanatiling nasa life support ang ating ekonomiya — at ang ating mamamayan — sa mga panahong ito na walang katiyakan.

Kaya ipinapanawagan natin sa pambansang pamahalaan na ituring ang ating mga manggagawa sa sektor ng pagkain, transportasyon, at logistics bilang mga anti-COVID front-liner din.

Gaya ng ating mga health worker, mahalaga rin ang kanilang trabaho sa pagpigil ng sakit.

Sila, kabilang na ang mga manggagawa sa public mass transport system, ay dapat na mapaglaanan ng protective gear at mabigyan ng hazard pay sa pagganap sa kanilang mga trabaho.

Lalo na at suspendido ang importasyon, dapat maglaan ang pambansang pamahalaan ng budget at sistema para mapanatili ang suplay ng pagkain. Kailangang seguruhin at paigtingin ang supply chain ng pagkain.

Ang pinakamalakas na sandata natin laban sa sakit ay ang ating pagkakaisa, pagtutulungan, at pakikiramay sa isa’t isa.