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Lining up in community pantries not an excuse to defy curfew —Palace

Lining up in community pantries to avail of donated food is not an excuse to violate curfew, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said Tuesday amid the popularity of such initiative.

"Hindi po puwedeng maging dahilan ang pagpila sa pantry para magkaroon ng exemptions sa curfew [falling in line to a pantry won't exempt anyone from the curfew]," Roque told a press briefing.

He was responding to a question on whether local and barangay officials should continue issuing tickets and imposing a fine on those who would go out of their residences during curfew hours just to be first in line in community pantries.

"We welcome bayanihan po para maibsan ang kagutuman sa gitna ng pandemya, pero ayaw rin natin maging dahilan ang community pantry para kumalat ang COVID-19," Roque said.

(We welcome bayanihan efforts to ease hunger among the population during this pandemic but we do not want community pantries to be the reason for COVID-19 transmission.)

“That is why we are calling on community pantry organizers to coordinate their efforts with barangay and local officials,” he added.

Areas under modified enhanced community quarantine, including Metro Manila, is implementing an 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew until the end of month.

At least 300 community pantries have sprouted across the country since Anna Patricia Non's Maginhawa Community Pantry in Quezon City became popular last week.

Patrons of the Maginhawa Community Pantry, as well as its donors, have exponentially increased over the past few days, which prompted Non and her volunteers to convert their pantry as a drop off point and instead deploy the free goods to barangays for faster distribution of goods and avoid crowding. --KBK, GMA News