The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has provided Romblon with two refrigerated container vans (reefer vans), which will help the local government store perishable goods and farm produce during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The two reefer vans were donated by Maersk. The Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) repaired the two vans, which were subsequently shipped through Starhorse Shipping Lines Inc. and Certified Customs Brokerage Inc. to the towns of San Agustin and Romblon.
“It has always been my goal for our provinces, especially those that rely heavily on agriculture, to have access to reefer container vans or what we call as Palamigan ng Bayan,” Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said. “Now that we are facing an unprecedented crisis, we can clearly see how crucial it is to support the agriculture sector. It is high time to boost our initiative and reach areas that are in dire need of help.”
Palamigan ng Bayan aims to help the agriculture sector preserve the quality of their farm produce and gain better market access, as well as further strengthen and boost the government’s response efforts amid the health crisis.
To date, there are 13 reefer vans that were donated to various municipalities and cities across the country.
Assistant Secretary for Maritime Transport Narciso Vingson Jr. noted that his group is in close coordination with the beneficiaries to ensure that the reefer vans are used for their intended purpose.
“We are monitoring these reefers vans and assessing to ensure that they are being used. So far, reports received from the ground confirm that they are serving their purpose,” Vingson said.
PPA General Manager Jay Daniel Santiago noted that this initiative will help cushion the effects of the pandemic.
“These refrigerated containers will help local government units store food supply to ensure that the food will not be spoiled,” he said.
On April 13, two reefer container vans were deployed to the One Bataan Center in Orani, Bataan, to help preserve the supply of perishable goods, including fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, and fish products in the province. This was followed by another five refrigerated containers being sent to Dingalan, Aurora; Tubigon, Bohol; Claveria, Cagayan; Iloilo province; and Ormoc City, Leyte.
On May 4, the Cebu Port Authority reported to the DOTr that the three reefer container vans intended for Cebu province were turned over to its Provincial Government. The CPA assisted in the turnover. The agency also reported that one of the three units was already deployed to the Municipality of San Remigio Fish Port, while the remaining two were delivered to Cebu South Bus Terminal to be used for the Provincial Bagsakan Central.