The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has issued a firm warning to organizers of community pantries in the Philippines – follow safety protocols or face closure.

In an announcement on Tuesday (April 27), DILG Secretary Eduardo Año urged community pantries to coordinate with local government units (LGUs) when it comes to the distribution of goods. 

“Unang una, dapat ay magkakaroon ng masusi at closer coordination ang ating organizer at saka LGU sapagkat, unang una, dapat maimplement yung health standards,” Año told ABS-CBN’s TeleRadyo

According to Año if safety protocols aren’t met or are violated – a community pantry may face immediate closure. 

“Kung hindi maiimplement o may mava-violate dyan, ito ay ground para ipa-stop natin yung community pantry,” he emphasized. 

The department will be releasing an advisory and a memorandum for LGUs concerning the charity stalls, Año revealed.

“Sa coordination na yan, ang LGU ay magiging malaki ang papel niyan. Kasi unang una, sya rin ang puwede magdetermine kung saan yung venue na gaganapin yung distribution,” he said. 

“At pagbibigay rin ng security, peace at order kasi kapag dumagsa na ang mga beneficiaries, I don’t think kaya ng organizer na i-maintain yung crowd,” Año added.

Mayors in NCR echoed the same sentiment, signing a resolution released by the MMDA – which urges organizers of community pantries to seek cooperation with their respective LGUs to observe COVID-19 protocols. 

DILG’s announcement comes days after a senior citizen died while in line at a community pantry organized by Filipina actress Angel Locsin in Brgy. Holy Spirit, Quezon City.

The community pantry initiative was started by Ana Patricia Non, who set up a stall along Maginhawa Street. 

Since then, the community drive has popped up in many parts of the Philippines. 

Want more news like this one? Head over to Nation Builder PH Breaking News Section for the latest updates.

Image credit: Ezra Acayan via Getty Images