DAVAO CITY – Mayor Sara Duterte said that local authorities dispersed the crowd lining up to get free food items at the “Matina Community Pantry” along Quimpo Boulevard on Monday, April 26 here.
In her program over Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR 87.5), Duterte said health authorities advised the organizers to thoroughly plan how they continue with the community pantry without violating public health standards, particularly physical distancing, before reopening on Tuesday.
“Earlier, we dispersed a community pantry. Clearly, the organizer did not know what to do in order that the public minimum public health standards are not violated in their community pantry. We advised them to stop, send the people home, and plan tonight how they will go about it and open tomorrow,” she said.
In a statement posted on Facebook, the organizers said they halted the operation upon the recommendation of the local government as the “physical distancing, an important health protocol, was difficult to implement.”
“We apologize that due to our crowd management limitations, we were only able to serve 350 persons and that many more were unserved,” it said.
It added that police, barangay, and organizers have agreed on the implementation of additional measures to ensure physical distancing.
“Tomorrow, we promise to do our best for all whom we intend to serve,” it said.
Duterte meantime advised people who are planning to organize community pantries to coordinate with Davao City Police Office (DCPO) or Public Safety and Security Command enter (PSSCC) to ensure crowd control and physical distancing.
“if your community pantry cannot control implementation of minimum public health standards – distancing – it will defeat the purpose of helping the people because most likely this will be the source of transmission,” she said.
As of April 25, the Department of Health (DOH)-Davao Region reported 57 new cases, bringing the total cases to 23,061, with 867 active, 21,221 recoveries, and 973 deaths in the region.
Out of the total, Davao City, which reported the highest COVID-19 cases in Mindanao, tallied 14,369 cases, with 352 active, 13,333 recoveries, and 684 deaths. Davao de Oro reported 1,499 cases, Davao del Norte with 3,983, Davao del Sur with 1,566, Davao Occidental with 226, and Davao Oriental with 1,418.