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Community pantry permit? Consult with barangays if it’s required, says DILG

By PINKY S. ICAMEN Published Apr 20, 2021 4:05 pm

After sending out mixed messages Tuesday on requiring the citizens-led community pantries to get a permit before starting up one, the Department of Interior and Local Government clarified that organizers must consult with the respective barangays if a permit is required to set up the initiative.

In a statement, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said that he has not ordered the police to interfere with the community pantries around the country following reports on the police red-tagging organizers.

“As to the issue of whether organizers are required to secure barangay permits, organizers should consult with the concerned barangays if such is required,” said Año, who noted that organizers must comply with existing laws and local ordinances to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

He also said that the police or local officials may step in if there is any violation of the law, complaints from the community, or if the organizers ask for help.

Residents check out items at the Maginhawa St. community pantry in Quezon City.

Año’s statement came following what Interior Undersecretary Martin Diño earlier said in an interview that community pantry organizers need a permit from LGUs or barangays to make sure health and safety protocols are observed on the site.

However, in an interview with CNN Philippines, Diño took back his initial statement and said, “Kahit na wag na kayo kumuha ng permit sa barangay. Kaya lang nga talaga pupunta ang barangay once nakita na na-bbreak ang social distancing kasi mananagot din si kapitan oras na napabayaan niya ang paghahalo-halo ng mamamayan at nagbabadyang panganib para sa COVID-19.”

Meanwhile, Interior Undersecretary and spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said in an earlier interview with DZMM that they have advised barangays not to require the community pantry organizers to get a permit.

Ang sabi namin sa mga barangay, huwag niyo i-require na kumuha ng permit. Hayaan niyo. ‘Pag lumapit ‘yan at humingi ng tulong, ‘dun kayo lalapit,” Malaya said.

The community pantry movement around the country was inspired by the initiative of Ana Patricia Non, who set up a bamboo cart on Maginhawa St. in Quezon City, which aims to provide food items for those in need during the pandemic based on the principle “Magbigay batay sa kakayahan, kumuha batay sa pangangailangan.

Non, however, posted on social media Tuesday that she is pausing the operations of the Maginhawa St. community pantry due to red tagging that has endangered the safety of volunteers. This came after the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict and some government pages have posted on its social media account accusations that the community pantries are propaganda with communist links.

Thumbnail and banner image by Michael Varcas/The Philippine STAR