An official of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Tuesday said organizers of community pantries should seek permission from the local governments.
Unlike before, DILG Undersecretary Martin Diño said these charitable efforts should have now permits considering the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think now they need [a] permit from the local, mayor, or the barangay. Una, paisa-isa lang yan. Ngayon kaso dinumog na ng tao, ibig sabihin wala nang control pati yung protocol ngayon ay na-violate na,” he said in an interview with ANC.
(I think now they need permit from the local, mayor, or the barangay. At first, there were only few setups of community pantries. Now, these are being crowded by people, which means it's uncontrollable [and] even the protocol is already being violated.)
While commending the efforts of organizers of community pantries, Diño said barangay and local governments should guide them observe health protocols.
Asked about the alleged red-tagging of these organizers by government authorities, Diño stressed that the only concern about the community pantries are the failure to observe social distancing among the residents.
On Monday, Anna Patricia Non, the organizer of the Maginhawa Community Pantry, said there would be a pause in its operation for the safety of its volunteers.
“Malungkot po dahil hindi muna maipapamahagi ang goods na inihanda namin buong maghapon dahil po sa #RedTagging na nagaganap. Magbigat sa pakirandam ko kasi maganda po ang intentions ko noong binuo ko ang #CommunityPantry at ilang araw na din po na napakaraming pinagsisilbihan nito at ganun din po ang tulong na dumadating,” Non said on Facebook.
“Sigurado po maraming tao po ang pipila sa amin bukas pero kailangan po muna nila maghintay sa susunod na araw bago po ito maipamahagi. Lalo na po at nagkaproblema kanina ang ibang Community Pantry sa mga kapulisan,” she added.
The National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict posted graphics on its Facebook page apparently linking the community pantry initiatives to the communist movement.
The Quezon City Police District also posted a similar graphic on its Facebook page. — Joviland Rita/RSJ, GMA News