Mayor urges community pantries to follow health protocols

Photo by Mark Perandos

DAVAO City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio said the City Government will monitor various community pantries in the city to check if Covid-19 minimum health protocols are strictly observed.

Duterte-Carpio said in a radio interview on Monday, April 19, that she already instructed the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) to check the implementation of community pantries in the city.

"Kung wala nama'y violation sa mga (If there is no committed violation in the) Covid-19 protocols, we do not have a problem with that," the mayor said in an interview on 87.5 FM Davao City Disaster Radio.

This comes after various community pantries were formed by various sectors after being inspired by the Maginhawa Community Pantry in Quezon City.

The concept of the pantry aims to help less fortunate and encourage others to donate and share their blessings.

Special permit

However, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecretary for Barangay Affairs Martin Diño said in an interview with ANC that organizers of community pantries nationwide must apply for a permit from local authorities.

Diño said this is to ensure health protocols such as physical distancing would be enforced.

Meanwhile, DILG-Davao Director Alex Roldan told SunStar Davao in a phone interview that the mandate is still unofficial.

But he deemed it necessary to ensure that the public will not be in danger and the food that will be donated and served is safe for consumption.

"This is to ensure that the public will not be put into danger kay kabalo ta nga pagkaon ni (because we are talking of food here)," Roldan said.

He added that some individuals might donate expired canned goods or other food items.

Roldan said the permit would also give proper coordination between the local government and pantry organizers.

He clarified that the government is not against community pantry.

"Wala may dautan magbayanihan. (There is nothing wrong in doing ‘bayanihan’.) That is beyond the question. But the problem is kung ato kining pasagdan, what if naay taong maghimo'g binuang (there will be some people who will take advantage), who is going to be responsible?" he said, adding that lawless groups would take advantage of the situation.

While waiting for the guidelines from the national government, Roldan said the local government should act immediately on how they can regulate the community pantry within their locality.

“I think ang mga (the) local government should make their actions to ensure nga kanang maghimo og (those who are organizing) [community] pantry, dili sila palisud-lisuron (they won’t be burdened), but rather i-coordinate lang para masiguro nato nga ang mga tao nga nag-organize ana dunay mga (to coordinate with them to ensure that the organizers have the) mechanism to keep the people safe,” Roldan said.

The DILG official said they would leave it to the local government how they would enforce it.

He added that it is also under the discretion of the local government on setting a recommended venue or place wherein a community pantry can be put up.

As of Tuesday evening, April 20, the City Government has not yet issued any official statement on what Diño has said.


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