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In Cebu City, Mayor Edgardo Labella is urging community pantry organizers to first coordinate with barangay units to ensure the observance of minimum health protocols.
“Maayo kaayo ni ang pantry pero hinaot pa unta nga ang mga barangay mo-strictly monitor niini,”Labella said in a virtual presser on Wednesday, April 21.
(The pantry is a good initiative but I hope the barangay unit strictly monitors them.)
“For as long as mananghid sila sa mga barangays and ang mga barangays, to closely monitor kining mga pantries nga dili susceptible sa abuse. Unya, naa sa’y mag-observe og health protocols–social distancing, magmask ang tanan,” he added.
(For as long as they ask permission from the barangay units, and the barangay units will also closely monitor these pantries, that they won’t be susceptible to abuse. And health protocols must be observed – with social distancing, and the wearing of masks.)
The “coordination,” Labella clarified, will not be asked in the form of a business permit. The Cebu mayor emphasized that community pantries are humanitarian activities, and not businesses.
“Mananghid lang siguro sila sa ilang barangay kung asa sila manghatag; dili lang kailangan permit because this is not a business (They just have to inform the barangays where they will be setting up the pantry; no need for a permit because this is not a business). This is more of a voluntary undertaking out of the kindness of their heart, out of the goodness of people,” Labella clarified.
Inspired by the Maginhawa Community Pantry, socio-civic organizations and private residents in Cebu have also taken initiative to set up communal pantries in the city to assuage food scarcity brought about by the pandemic.
Like most community pantries that have sprung up from many local government units in the country, those in Cebu also operate according to the “take what you need, and give what you can” scheme.
But some pantries in the country have also been the recent subject of red-tagging and surveillance by authorities.
Amid these threats, Labella maintained that the pantries are “laudable efforts.”
“This is a very laudable activity. Laudable undertaking. Nagpakita nga ang mga katawhan, under the bayanihan spirit, naningkamot sila nga makatabang sa ilang isigka-tawo (This shows that the people, under the bayanihan spirit, are striving to help each other),” he said. – Rappler.com