Community pantry beneficiaries not exempted from curfew

People lining up at community pantries are not exempted from the implementation of curfew in their communities, Malacañang clarified Tuesday, April 27.


Presidential spokesman Harry Roque reminded people especially senior citizens queueing up for food in community pantries to observe the quarantine rules for their own safety and health.

"Ang curfew po talaga ay uniform diyan sa NCR (National Capital Region) at sa mga karatıg na probinsya. Hindi po pwede maging dahilan yung pagpila sa pantry para magkaroon ng exemption sa curfew (Curfew is uniform in NCR and nearby provinces. Lining up at pantries should not be a reason for exemption from the curfew)," he said during a televised press briefing Tuesday, April 27.

Organizers of the community pantries have also been urged anew to coordinate with local government units to ensure observance of safety protocols. Roque said the government does not want these food pantries to become a source of the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the local communities.

The local food banks have sprouted up all over the country showing the kindness and bayanihan spirit among Filipinos in facing the pandemic. Some people including seniors lining up early at these food pantries however have reportedly been given curfew violation tickets. In NCR plus where the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) is in effect, the curfew hours are observed from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. until the end of the month.

"Kaya ang pakiusap natin 'yung mga nagtatayo ng community pantries, sana makipag-ugnayan sa lokal na pamahalaan (We appeal to those organizing community pantries to coordinate with local government units)," Roque said.

"Ninanais natin na itong bayanihan sa pamamagitan ng community pantry maibsan ang kagutuman sa panahon ng pandemic pero ayaw rin natin ang community pantries maging dahilan para kumalat ang COVID-19 (We want the bayanihan through community pantries to ease hunger during the pandemic but we don't want the community pantries to be the reason for the spread of COVID-19)," he said.

The Palace also backed the Department of Justice's recommendation to impose community service in lieu of a monetary fine for quarantine violators. Roque said such a penalty must still be implemented by local government units to ensure compliance with health and safety protocols to curb coronavirus transmission. "Kapag tumigil tayo sa minimum public health standards, 'yan ang surest way, guarantee na lalong kakalat ang COVID-19 (If we stop minimum public health standards, that's the surest way, that's a guarantee COVID-19 will continue to spread)," he said.

Among the minimum health standards enforced by the government are the wearing of face masks and shields as well as physical distancing. Local government units have issued their respective ordinances on penalties for those violating health protocols.