The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Foundation of Iligan, Inc. has launched its rolling stores in a bid to enhance the effectiveness of the Enhanced Community Quarantine in Iligan City.
As defined by the Iligan Chamber of Commerce, a Rolling Store is a “One-Stop-Shop” where consumers can buy their groceries, vegetables, fish and meat items within their barangays without going to public and supermarkets to lessen their risks of infection from the COVID-19 coronavirus.
When Iligan Mayor Celso G. Regencia declared an Enhanced Community Quarantine throughout Iligan City from March 20 to April 30, 2020, it raised the issue of how social distancing could be enhanced with only two public markets serving Iligan City: Tambo and Wet Market in the City proper.
It also made life more difficult for people who did not have private transportation and had lacking access to buy their daily needs such as the dry goods, vegetables and fruits, meats and other household needs.
Rolling Stores to the rescue
On April 7, the Iligan Chamber of Commerce launched its Rolling Stores Project in coordination with the Local Government Units (LGUs), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), City Agriculture Office, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and other stakeholders to address the issues of social distancing, encouraging to stay home indoors and assisting certain sectors to mitigate the big impact of the ECQ in Iligan City.
“We have 10 rolling stores every day, they have different schedules and diff barangays to cater to,” said Ms. Reggie D. Punongbayan, CCIFII President. “So far, the rolling stores have already covered about 90 percent or 40 of the city’s 44 barangays.”
“We have been consistently been urging buyers to strictly comply with the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ). Buyers should provide their own ecobags, prepare their shopping lists in advance to avoid delays, always wear face masks and maintain social distancing in accordance with Joint Memorandum Circular No. 1, Series of 2020, R.A. 11469,” she stressed.
To get the stores rolling, the Iligan Chamber of Commerce requested the Association of Barangay Councils (ABC) President to identify which barangays would be interested to participate in the project.
“The barangays were divided into clusters composed of various puroks,” Punongbayan explained. “The identified barangay will be divided into sectors with designated spaces where our Rolling Store will standby on agreed days and times, assuring that all barangay residents can access the rolling store at least two or three times a week.”
Once the designated spaces for the rolling store had been identified, barangay officials assisted in securing the area by marshalling buyers to assure the proper social distancing and health protocols are observed during the 4-5 hours the rolling store would be selling in a barangay.
Opportunities in adversity
The City Agriculture Office (CAO) has been supplying at least ten (10) basic agricultural products from local farmers which are delivered to the City Slaughterhouse where the CAO is located, and where participating entrepreneurs get their orders repacked based on their needs.
“We collaborated with chamber members who were interested to operate the rolling stores in the 3-4 barangays assigned to them,” Punongbayan said. “A Halal operator has also been tapped to serve our Muslim communities.”
“The fish, meat, groceries, rice, and dried fishes which are considered basic priority needs of our people are taken from our selected participating outlet members arranged by CCIFII to get the best prices which comply the suggested retail prices set by Department of Agriculture and the Department of Trade and Industry under the present price freeze of basic and prime commodities,” she added.
To further keep prices down, the chamber coordinated with the Department of Agriculture which coordinated with local farmers to have their produce delivered to a “bagsakan” where RS operators buy directly from them, and where meat products like pork and chicken can also be likewise bought direct from piggery and poultry operators.
In addition, grocery store owners give wholesale price for canned goods and other grocery items to RS operators while donors shoulder like DPWH and the CAO donated gasoline allowance of 10 liters twice a week for each RS operator.
Through the Rolling Stores Project, the Iligan Chamber of Commerce aims to assist the local and national government enhance health measures such as social distancing, help curb the spread of COVID-19 by limiting the number and distance residents need to travel to purchase their daily needs, keep down the prices of basic and prime commodities, and further expand opportunities for synergy and cooperation between the public and private sectors. (RMB)