ARTA bats for spacious community pantries to avoid crowding, ensures permits are not necessary

Published April 21, 2021, 9:17 AM

by Argyll Cyrus Geducos

The Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) thought that there should be more community pantries in a single area to prevent people from forming crowds to avoid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

(Jun Sabayton/Franco Mamaril)

ARTA Director-General Jeremiah Belgica made the statement as he visited the Maginhawa community pantry in Quezon City on Tuesday.

During his visit, the ARTA czar commended the initiative of the individuals behind the community pantries, saying this illustrated the spirit of unity that was “most needed value” as the country still grapples with the pandemic.

However, Belgica suggested that organizers of the community pantries would set them up in more locations or in bigger areas so people will not have to ensure that minimum health standards are being followed and for the initiative to avoid being politicized.

“If we can provide bigger area para hindi ma-politicize ito. ‘Wag po natin lagyan ng bahid pulitika ang napakagandang pagtutulungan na ito (so that it won’t be politicized. Let’s not involve politics in this beautiful display of unity),” he said.

“This really puts to action Christ’s teaching, ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself,'” he added.

Meanwhile, Belgica assured community pantry volunteers that a permit won’t be necessary for holding such activity.

“We at ARTA want to ensure that bureaucracy is not getting in the way of public service. Ang public service hindi lang po gobyerno ‘yan. Shared responsibility ‘yan (Public service not just lies on the government, it’s a shared responsibility),” he said.

“Yung mga ganitong effort napakaganda… dapat lang natin siguraduhing maayos na malulunsad ang mga ganitong inisyatibo (These efforts are really commendable and we should ensure that these will be run smoothly),” he added.

Malacañang has welcomed the emergency of community pantries in different parts of the country, saying this is a display of the best Filipino character. The Palace, however, urged its anti-communism task force to leave these pantries alone.