MANILA - Community pantries risk being shut down if they violate COVID-19 health protocols that lead to a surge in infections, the Department of the Interior and Local Government said Tuesday.
DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said his department would be issuing an advisory and memo to local government units on how best to handle community pantries initiated by private sector and individuals.
He said community pantry organizers must coordinate with the LGUs to effectively implement health protocol, maintain peace and order, and ensure that distributed goods reach those really in need.
“Unang-una, magkakaroon dapat ng masusi at closer coordination ang ating organizer at saka LGU sapagkat unang-una dapat maimplement 'yung minimum health standard. Kung may mag violate d'yan, ito ay ground para pa stop natin 'yung community pantry kasi ito ang pwedeng maging sanhi ng surge at tinatawag nating breakout,” he said in an interview on TeleRadyo.
“Dapat makaabot 'yung tulong na ito sa tunay na mga beneficiaries, kasi ang gusto sana nating mangyari dadalhin natin 'yung community pantry doon sa lugar mismo,” he added.
The LGU, he said, will be playing a big role as it would be the one to determine the venue of the free food distribution that is accessible to beneficiaries. It can likewise link local producers to organizers who are sourcing products for the community pantry, as well as provide security and help in maintaining peace and order in the area.
Año lauded the initiative of the Maginhawa Community Pantry and is supportive of the efforts made by private individuals and organizations.
“Maganda itong idea na ito na private individuals at private organizations ay tumutulong pero kailangan talaga team up tayo sa gobyerno pati na yung local government,” he said.
He added: "Dapat ito ay maayos at saka tahimik at hindi naman kailangan dito ng credit ng sinuman. Ang importante dito ay tumulong talaga sa ating mga mas nangangailangang kababayan.”
The Maginhawa Community Pantry will now serve as drop off point to prevent hundreds of residents from falling in line. A group of bikers will transport the donation to 15 other community pantries.
Community pantries have sprouted across the country after Ana Patricia Non started the movement in Maginhawa in Quezon City.