Soldiers, Cops serve food in rolling stores

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ILIGAN CITY (April 1) — Before the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, soldiers and police used to ride on military trucks and patrol cars for tactical and pursuit operations. But the virus has changed their operational guidelines, they now use their trucks to sell goods and other stuff for residents who are staying at home under the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), just to keep them home.

On Monday, March 30, soldiers of the Army’s 103rd Infantry Brigade and cops from Lanao del Sur along with a local government representative, started to move around addressing people through megaphones to buy food from the rolling store, they sell grocery items and other essentials just to keep the residents inside their homes.

The army using three trucks while the police also use three patrol cars and they are assigned in area covering the four municipalities of Lanao del Sur.

They now call themselves ‘secutindero’ which means security and ‘tindero’ or security salesman, said Col. Jose Maria Cuerpo, commander of the 103rd Brigade.

“This is our way of helping the people in our areas of operation. We have not yet stood up from the siege and here we are, fighting again (againts the virus),” Cuerpo added.

The residents used to buy their stuff in Marawi City, the province’s trade center, but the recent government order stopped them from mving from one area to the other, thus, police and military have to intervene and provide the needs.

A rolling store operated by PNP Lanao del Sur.-Photo courtesy: LDS/PRO

The whole province is on an enhanced community quarantine since March 19 that would make residents difficult to travel especially if they don’t have own vehicle.

The provincial government of Lanao del Sur, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Lanao Chamber of Commerce came up with the idea of rolling stores to avoid the tendency of over pricing in temporary markets (talipapa).

The three agencies joint together in pooling the grocery items to be sold based on the DTI prices.

These items include rice, sardines, noodles, coffee and other essentials. They move around from 7:00 in the morning to 6:00 in the evening.

Col. Madzgani Mukaram, chief of Lanao del Sur police, finds satisfaction in serving the people saying “This is a different kind of fight, the enemy is invisible.”

“Sa ganitong klaseng gyera, kung hindi mag-cooperate ang publiko, kung hindi natin sila tutulungan, hindi lang ang mga sibilyan ang talo sa gyera laban sa COVID-19 kundi pati rin kaming mga pulis at mga sundalo na nasa frontline,”

(In this kind of war, if the public will not cooperate, if we will not help them, it is not only the civilians who may lose in the battle against COVID-19 but also us, police and army who are in the frontline.)

Mukaram said cops who went around with the rolling stores will also comply their duty at the checkpoints.

“It is tiring but we are happy to serve. It’s fulfilling serving the people,” Mukaram said.-Divina M. Suson

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