DAVAO CITY – Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) director Alex Roldan urged organizers of the community pantries to coordinate with Local Government Units (LGUs), barangays, and police to ensure that health protocols will be followed during the distribution of goods.
“What we need for those who wanted to put up pantries is just to coordinate with the Local Government Units to ensure that safety and health protocols are observed,” Roldan said during the recent media briefing at the Police Regional Office (PRO) 11.
Apart from the health protocols, he said, this is also to ensure the safety of the products being distributed in the community pantry. Only authorities, he said, who can determine if certain products are still safe to be consumed or not.
“There should be somebody who would be responsible in case something happened to those people who could consume the products. The question is who will control if somebody would give you a product that is already expired. Do you allow that to be consumed by the public? Roldan pointed out.
Roldan clarified that the agency supports and even encourages community pantries as this has been a traditional practice in the country as part of Bayanihan culture and spirit especially in times of calamities and disasters.
“We are not saying we discourage, in fact DILG is encouraging people to come up with their own strategies to help other people but not to the point to be used for other political purposes,” he said.
He said people should not allow themselves to be used for political ends of some individuals using this kind of initiative.
“We will be too naive not to believe that this will be used by the other side for their political ends,” he said.
Meanwhile, PRO 11 director Brigadier General Filmore Escobal said that organizers must adhere to all the existing laws and local ordinances to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“We will allow them for as long as they will not violate the health protocols. They can proceed with the distribution as long as they will not commit any crime,” Escobal said.
Escobal also told the public to be vigilant in receiving food assistance out of this community pantry because he said it cannot be denied that there are some organizers who are using the initiative to incite those who will be given aid to join certain activity that is against the government.
“Hindi naman ito masama but there is something under it na ginagawa nilang propaganda. Let us be keen on their motive, may iba kasi silang motibo kaya nila ito ginagawa,” Escobal said.