MANILA, Philippines – The Metro Manila Council (MMC) called on organizers of community pantries in the metropolis to have prior coordination with their respective local government units (LGU) to ensure that COVID-19 health protocols are properly observed.
While lauding the Filipino spirit of bayanihan as community pantries emerge on various parts of Metro Manila, the MMC, by virtue of Resolution No. 21-08 Series of 2021, underscored the importance of coordination to sustain the downward trend two-week growth rate of COVID-19.
Citing data from the Department of Health, the MMC said the growth rate of COVID-19 lowered to -5% within the period of March 21 to April 17 from 164% for the period February 28 to March 27.
“While the organizers of community pantries exemplify collective charity and concern for the plight of the underprivileged and are truly worthy of emulation, support, and praise, the primordial minimum public health standards under the prevailing community quarantine must remain paramount,” the resolution stated.
“The sacrifices endured and gains accumulated during the ECQ and MECQ must not be put to waste by a disregard of the prohibition on mass gatherings, observance of social distancing, and the wearing of face masks and face shields,” it added.
The council approved the resolution on April 23. The MMC is composed of 17 Metro Manila mayors.
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Benhur Abalos, who is also the concurrent chair of the MMC, said advance coordination would allow LGUs to set up measures to ensure the observance of physical distancing and other public health protocols in community pantries.
Community pantries’ adherence to the prevailing health guidelines is also part of the Filipino bayanihan spirit that it is promoting, he added.
“As the community pantries intend to extend assistance to our kababayans, let us be reminded that aside from giving food at this time, one of the noblest kind of help is making sure that they are not at risk of acquiring the virus which, at worst, can cost their lives,” Abalos said.
The MMDA chief also reminded that individuals aged 17 below and senior citizens aged 65 and older should stay at home, in compliance with the guidelines set by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.