Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año said on Tuesday, April 20 that he did not order the Philippine National Police (PNP) to conduct profiling of organizers of community pantries across the country.
Año’s statement was issued amid allegations that community pantry organizers are being red-tagged by the PNP, which prompted one of the organizers to temporarily halt its operation.
“The community pantry has been a traditional practice in our country as part of Bayanihan culture and spirit especially in the times of calamities and disasters. Iba iba lang ang pangalan: community pantry, food bank, soup kitchen, kapitbahayan and ayuda, among others. (They go by different names: community pantry, food bank, soup kitchen, neighborhood aid and assistance among others. In the spirit of Bayanihan (cooperative undertaking), many Filipinos have been doing selfless acts of kindness since last year.’’ Año said.
The DILG chief emphasized that this (Bayanihan) should be encouraged and supported “as long as the intention is good and without political color.’’
“Since this is a purely voluntary and private initiative, we should not interfere except to ensure that minimum health standards are complied with,’’ he added.
He reminded the organizers to adhere to existing laws and local ordinances especially those issued to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease-2019 (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,’’ Año said.