EL NIDO, Palawan – Vendors say checkpoints in other municipalities are slowing down the delivery of their products, which include essentials such as fruits, vegetables, and other food items.
They have also started lowering their prices in order to match the spending power of El Nido residents, many of whom have lost their sources of income after business establishments were ordered to temporarily close during the quarantine.
Since the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) on March 15, El Nido public market vendors have experienced slower deliveries of their products, whether these are from suppliers from El Nido or from other municipalities.
“Ngayon lang po dumating ang mga produkto namin, simula pa noong nagsimula ang travel ban dahil sa quarantine. Nahinto kasi sila sa Roxas dahil wala raw silang mga papeles,” said one fruit and vegetable vendor who declined to be named and runs a stall owned by the Artificio family.
The delivery of essential products such as food and medicine has been granted a special exemption from travel bans via land, sea, and air in Executive Order (EO) 20-041. However, even local suppliers such as fishermen were unable to deliver on time because of not having the right paperwork.
“Itong mga isda namin na galing Bucana, natagalan ang delivery kasi ang mga mangingisda ay nahaharang sa checkpoint dahil wala silang mga papeles,” said Marites Ruelo, a fish vendor.
Additional curfew hours were also implemented last March 27 via EO 20-042. Market vendors are seeing challenges with delivery unloading because of the new curfew slot from 9 a.m to 3 p.m., as well as opening hours being adjusted.
“Pagdating ng mga suppliers, nasa tatlong oras lang sila puwedeng manatili sa palengke, kasi kung maabutan sila ng curfew na 9a.m., hindi na sila makakabalik sa pinanggalingan nila,” said the fruit and vegetable vendor.
“Magsasara muna kami pagdating ng curfew, tapos magbubukas uli mula 3p.m. hanggang 6p.m.,” said Ruelo.
Vendors are also lowering the prices of their wares to match the spending power of their loyal customers.
“Minsan, binibigyan ko rin ng 20 pesos sa bawat isang order ng mga isda ko,” said Arlene Becaldo, another fish vendor. “Nakakaawa na kasi. Maraming nawalan ng trabaho at walang pambili ng pagkain, lalo na ang mga construction worker. Kaya bukas pa rin kami rito para kahit papaano may mabibilhan pa sila.”