No alcohol and 'epal', please: DILG sets guidelines for community pantries

Published April 29, 2021, 1:05 AM

by Chito Chavez

The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) has spelled out the guidelines for community pantries to help the organizers maintain order and at the same time avoid triggering a spike in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infections.

A community pantry that solely offers medicines. (Photo by Ali Vicoy/ MANILA BULLETIN)

In a briefing with the President late Wednesday night, April 28, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año emphasized that community pantry organizers should coordinate with the local government units (LGUs) even if no permits are required for the charitable initiative.

He noted that the organizers should see to it that health protocols like physical distancing and the wearing of face masks and face shields are enforced among the pantry-goers.

Under no circumstance shall illegal items such as alcohol and cigarettes be allowed in the community pantries, Año said.

Año said that the putting up of signs, posters, billboards, or streamers indicating the names, images, initials, and projects of politicians who are out to gain mileage at the community pantries would be prohibited. He referred to this as an anti-“epal” measure.

The LGUs will also be prohibited from charging fees from the organizers since the endeavor is a manifestation of the “Bayanihan (cooperative undertaking)” spirit.

In the same briefing, the President also ordered the local chief executives to implement laws against health protocol violators as he expressed disbelief over the continued spread of COVID-19.

‘’Ang gawin ko ganito (This is what I will do), I will hold responsible and I will direct the Secretary of the Local Government, DILG to hold the mayors responsible for this kind of events happening in their places,’’ he said.

The President also warned barangay officials that they would be held responsible for any mass gatherings in their areas where the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) remains in place.