No ‘epal’, alcohol, cigarettes in DILG guidelines on community pantries

Marje Pelayo   •   April 29, 2021   •   378

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interiors and Local Government (DILG) announced the official guidelines for the conduct of community pantries in compliance with the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte.

“Ayon po sa inyong pag-uutos, gumawa po kami ng guidelines kung paano po ipapatupad itong community pantry sapagkat itong community pantry ay isa sa pwedeng maging dahilan sa pagsimula ng surge o ng spike,” DILG Secretary Eduardo Año told the president during Wednesday’s public briefing.

During his report, Año enumerated the salient points in conducting a community pantry.

Firstly, organizers need not secure a permit prior to setting up a community pantry as this will only be an additional burden to them.

“Kailangan ang masusing koordinasyon sa lahat ng LGU, sapagkat kailangan compliant sa batas at ordinansa ang lahat ng organizers,” Año said.

Secondly, illegal items such as alcoholic beverages and cigarettes are not allowed in community pantries.

“Walang illegal na bagay at harmful items, kasama ang alcohol at cigarettes na ipapamahagi rito sa community pantry,” the official noted.

Thirdly, minimum health standards must be observed at all times. Violation of the standard health protocols are considered as strong grounds for the termination of the community pantry as this can cause a surge or spike in COVID-19 cases.

Fourthly, organizers and the LGU are not allowed to collect any fee whatsoever for any item in the pantry.

Año specified the important role that the LGU takes during the conduct of a community pantry.

He said, it is the LGU that would determine the venue of the community pantry to ensure it is set up in areas where most indigents reside.

The LGU will also be the one to link the organizers to potential suppliers of goods in support of local producers and at the same time contribute to the LGU’s economy.

One important task for the LGU is maintaining peace and order throughout the conduct of the community pantry because organizers might not be able to handle the possible surge of people.

Members of the Philippine National Police (PNP), the barangay tanod and other officials as well as volunteers must be tapped for crowd control.

Fifthly, Año said organizers must establish a system for reaching members of the vulnerable sector, specifically the senior citizens and persons with comorbidity who are not allowed to go outdoors.

“Ang gusto po natin dito ay talagang localized ito na kung saang barangay gagawin ay doon lang magbabandilyo,” he said.

“Hindi na kailangang may mga taong dadagsa galing sa ibang lugar. Kaya kailanhgan ay umiikot itong ating community pantry,” he added, citing the incident in Barangay Holy Spirit where actress Angel Locsin announced her community pantry on social media and consequently drawing even people from other barangays to flock to the venue breaching health protocols.

Lastly, “epals” are not allowed. This means no signage, billboard, or poster bearing the name and picture of the organizer, any politician or government officials shall be posted in community pantries.

The DILG secretary said they will send an advisory or a memorandum to the LGUs regarding the guidelines.

Hiling na isailalim sa ECQ ang 3 lugar sa Bicol, pinag-aaralan na – DILG

Robie de Guzman   •   June 16, 2021

Pumalo sa 2,349 ang bilang ng bagong kaso ng COVID-19 sa Bicol Region sa huling dalawang linggo batay sa ulat ng Department of Health (DOH).

Batay sa tala ng DOH mula Hunyo 15, nangunguna sa may pinakamaraming kaso sa rehiyon ang mga lalawigan ng Albay (696), Camarines Sur (584), Sorsogon (341), Naga City (297), at Masbate (223).

Sa kasalukuyan, tanging ang Naga City ang nasa ilalim ng modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) hanggang June 30, 2021.

Samantalang ang malaking bahagi ng Bicol Region ay nasa ilalim ng modified general community quarantine (MGCQ), ang pinakamaluwag na quarantine restriction.

Bunsod nito, hiniling ng Bicol Region medical groups sa Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) na mapasailalim sa pinakamahigpit na community quarantine ang mga lalawigan ng Albay, Camarines Sur, at Sorsogon pati na ang mga lungsod ng Legazpi, Naga, at Sorsogon.

Anila, nakababahala ang pagtaas ng kaso na iniuugnay sa local transmission bunsod ng maluwag na pagpapatupad ng minimum health standards, hindi pagsunod ng local officials sa Inter-Agency Task Force regulations, mabagal, inaccessible at di sapat na testing at poor contact tracing efforts at iba.

Ayon naman kay DILG Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya, pinag-aaralan na ng DILG ang apela ng mga medical frontliner.

“For Bicol, its under study. We are meeting with DOH this afternoon to hear their recommendations,” ani Malaya. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

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Duterte: I salute community pantry scheme but…

Robie de Guzman   •   June 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday said that he salutes individuals and groups behind community pantries but stressed that protocols against the transmission of COVID-19 should be strictly observed during these events.

Duterte issued the statement after receiving information that at least 86 persons have tested positive for coronavirus disease after going to a food distribution activity in a barangay in Quezon City more than two weeks ago.

While he acknowledges the intention behind the establishment of community pantries, the chief executive said organizers must ensure that these activities will not go out of control and become super spreader events.

“Wala man question itong pantry scheme. As a matter of fact, I salute the people behind this and those who originated it,” Duterte said during his weekly public address on Monday night.

He also said that basic health protocols should likewise be implemented to avoid overcrowding and minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

“Nagkulang sila (pantry organizers) and maybe they are ignorant of the prohibition imposed by law, not by me. Hindi siguro niyo nabasa pero sa totohanan lang, if it is a matter of assessing whether or not you are doing good you are doing super good,” he said.

“Saludo ako at maganda ang konsensya ninyo sa tao ninyo but please read the restrictions first,” he added.

DILG calls on CPP-NPA to turn over members responsible for Masbate mine blast

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 9, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has called on the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) to turn over members involved in the Masbate mine blast.

After the CPP-NPA took responsibility for the incident, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said the group should be held accountable for the death of football player Kieth Absalon and his cousin Novlen Absalon.

“Now that the CPP-NPA has accepted full responsibility for the senseless murder, it now becomes their duty to turn over the terrorists responsible for the deaths so that justice maybe served to their families and loved ones,” he said in a statement. Año also assured the safety of the suspects while undergoing trial.

“The ends of justice require that those responsible must be held accountable for their crimes against the people under the laws of the Republic of the Philippines,” he said.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) are prepared to file criminal charges against the CPP-NPA members involved in the incident. AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

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