HON. EDUARDO M. AÑO
Secretary of the Interior and Local Government
I have not ordered the PNP to look into the community pantries around the country. The community pantry has been a traditional practice in our country as part of Bayanihan culture and spirit specially in the times of calamities and disasters. Iba iba lang ang pangalan: community pantry, food bank, soup kitchen, kapitbahayan and ayuda, among others. In the spirit of Bayanihan, many Filipinos have been doing selfless acts of kindness since last year.
As long as the intention is good and without political color, it should be encouraged and supported. Since this is a purely voluntary and private initiative, we should not interfere except to ensure that minimum health standards are complied with. Hence, organizers must adhere to existing laws and local ordinances especially those issued to prevent the spread of Covid-19. As to the issue of whether organizers are required to secure barangay permits, organizers should consult with the concerned barangays if such is required.
The PNP and/or local officials may just come in if there is any violation of law, if there are complaints from the community, or if the organizers seek their help. The LGUs, barangays and the PNP are ready to provide utmost assistance to ensure orderly distribution to the public.