The Department of the Interior and Local Government urged local government units to connect community pantry organizers to local businesses for their needs.
“The LGUs can give links to our organizers, if ever they need suppliers, we have local producers,” DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said in a televised briefing with President Rodrigo Duterte Wednesday night.
He added that this will help the local economy recover from the impact of the pandemic.
The measure is among the guidelines released by the DILG in the conduct of community pantries aimed at providing food and other essential items to the needy.
Año also emphasized that community pantry organizers should ensure the safety of their beneficiaries by implementing health and safety protocols to prevent a spike in Covid-19 cases, and should coordinate with the LGUs even if no permits are required for this charitable act.
“There must be a system on how aid from community pantries can reach those who cannot leave their houses, such as senior citizens and persons with comorbidities. What we want is these are localized. People from other places should not flock to these pantries so, if necessary, there must be roving pantries,” Año said.
Community pantries will not be allowed to give alcohol, cigarettes, and other harmful substances, Año said.
He also said that both the LGU and organizers are prohibited from collecting fees for the activity.
More than a year ahead of the elections, he said that putting up signs, posters, billboards, or streamers indicating the names, images, initials, and projects of politicians who are out to gain popularity mileage in community pantries are prohibited.
Año also noted that the community pantry organizers should coordinate with LGUs and enforce health protocols, like physical distancing and wearing of face masks and face shields to the beneficiaries to avoid being closed for such violations.
“There is a need for coordination because the LGU has a big role to play. First, the LGU must determine where the community pantry must be set up. The venue should be at the area where it is needed the most,” he added.*PNA