COTABATO CITY (MindaNews / 29 March) – If you can’t go to the store, the store will go to you.
To ensure residents stay home as mandated under the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), the provincial government of Lanao del Sur launched its Rolling Stores project to bring the goods to them.
The province has been under ECQ since March 19.
The project is in cooperation with the line agencies of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARRM), some Meranaw businessmen and the Bangon Marawi Chamber of Commerce headed by its President Elian Macala.
“Hindi pa kami nakarecover ang Maranaos sa Marawi Siege, at nandito na naman ang COVID-19” (We have not recovered, the Meranaws have not recovered from the Marawi Siege and here is COVID-19 but we are willing – businessmen small and big, to partner with the local government units to deliver the services to the people in the municipalities,” Macala said.
The rolling stores sell basic necessities such as rice, eggs, vegetables and spices, dried fish, cooking oil, chicken, bread, over-the counter medicines, LPG, purified water, diapers, toiletries although with limits so as to cover as many families in the municipalities who wish to avail of the products. All goods are sold at suggested retail prices.
Seven mobile stores were initially dispatched to the towns of Marantao, Taraka and Bacolod Kalawi on Monday, Lumba Bayabao and Binidayan on Wednesay and Piagapo on Thursday.
The mobile stores are supposed to go to the different towns of Lanao del Sur every day. But problems were encountered last week due to the travel ban imposed by Iligan.
Lanao del Sur has 39 towns and one city.
Local government units are assisting the project by helping in the pre-orders as there are specific needs that were not carried by the rolling stores such as animal feeds.
Other problems encountered is the inability of residents to withdraw money because of the lockdown. Good sold by the rolling stores are to be paid in cash.
The maximum goods allowed for each customer are a sack of rice, a tray of eggs, a kilo of vegetables and spices, two kilos of sugar, one kilo of salt, two kilos or liters of oil, one kilo of dried fish, a dozen of coffee sachets, a piece of milk, two kilos of poultry, two kilos of fish, two packs of bread, two packs of biscuits, 11 pieces of canned goods, 10 pieces of vitamins and over the counter medicines, two gallons of water, one tank of LPG, one pack of sanitary napkin, two pieces of infant/children’s milk, one pack diaper, three rolls of tissue paper, one bottle of alcohol if available, two packs of bath soap, five packs of detergent soap, two bottles of Zonrox.
After the transaction, the customers have to return to their houses immediately.
Strict physical distancing is being observed during the selling with the help of the local government units, the police and the military.
“We learned a lot from the Marawi Siege. During crisis, government must be proactive in lowering the insecurities of our people so that they may concentrate in fighting the real enemy — this time, its COVID19,” said Zia Alonto Adiong , Member of the Bangsamoro Parliament and designated Spokesperson of the Provincial Disaster and Risk Reduction Management Committee of Lanao del Sur. (Ross Alonto for MindaNews)