MANILA – All local government units (LGUs) have been enjoined to include sugar in the relief packages that will be distributed to their constituents amid the coronavirus diseases 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic in the country.

In a virtual presser aired on state-run PTV-4 on Saturday, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) approved on Friday the inclusion of sugar in the Covid-19 relief packages.

Nograles said the move was meant to help sugar farmers and the country’s sugar industry during the health crisis.

“With a view to assist and support sugar farmers and the sugar industry, the recommendation of the DA (Department of Agriculture) to encourage LGUs (local government units) to include sugar in their relief good packages is adopted,” he said.

The entire Luzon and some parts of the Visayas and Mindanao with confirmed Covid-19 cases have been placed under an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) to check the further spread of the disease in the country.

 The government has assured the public that there is enough food supply during the ECQ period.

As part of government efforts to ensure food security in the country, the IATF-EID reorganized the National Task Force (NTF) sub-group on food security into the NTF Task Group on Food Security, Nograles said.

He said the NTF Task Group on Food Security will be chaired by the DA, with the departments of trade, social welfare, budget, interior, education, and science and technology; the National Economic and Development Authority; and the National Security Council as members.

Nograles said the DA also has the discretion to add new member-agencies.

Apart from the food packs, the national government has also granted cash aid worth between PHP5,000 and PHP8,000 to 18 million poor families affected by the crisis. (PNA)

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