Guidelines, not permits, needed in community pantries: QC mayor


Posted at Apr 21 2021 10:02 AM

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MANILA - Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte on Wednesday said there is no need to issue permits for community pantries in her city, but pushed for the creation of health and safety guidelines in these charity sites that may attract crowds.

Community pantries do not need permits as these are not commercial establishments, the mayor said.

A woman pushing a cart takes vegetables from the "pan-tree" cart on April 15, 2021. Anjo Bagaoisan, ABS-CBN News

"Maybe we should have some guidelines at least," Belmonte told ANC's Headstart.

"The barangay can provide you with needs that you might have difficulty in providing for yourself. For example, security. The barangays can help with that," she said.

"We can also have somebody look at the food as well because we have to take care of food safety... but other than that, ayoko talaga magkaroon ng regulation (I really don't want to place regulations)," she said.

Community pantries or shelves filled with free food and groceries for those who need it started to appear nationwide after a Quezon City resident began the movement in Maginhawa Street last week.

As much as possible, the government "should stay away" from this community initiative, Belmonte said.

"Purposely, hindi ko siya binisita kasi ayoko maging epal. Ayokong mahaluan 'yung ginagawa niya ng politika kasi ang dalisay-dalisay ng kaniyang intention, ng kaniyang ginagawa," the mayor said, referring to the Maginhawa Community Pantry.

(Purposely, I did not visit her because I don't want to appear meddlesome. I don't want her very pure initiative to be tainted with politics because she really has good intentions.)

"This is something that grew and sprung out of community love so dapat as much as possible, the government must stay away from this... para (so that) the people can do their good acts," she said.

Belmonte's statement comes a day after Interior Undersecretary Martin Diño said community pantry organizers should seek permits from barangays or local governments.

Diño eventually withdrew his statement.

As of April 20, there are about 70 community pantries in Quezon City, Metro Manila's largest city, according to data from Belmonte's office.