Yay or nay? DILG recommendation to coordinate community pantries with LGUs draws mix reaction

Published April 30, 2021, 12:52 PM

by Chito Chavez

People were divided over the decision of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) urging organizers of community pantries to tap barangay officials in distributing the supplies to the residents.

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said Thursday, April 29, that no permit is required if one wishes to put up a community pantry in their area. However, he encouraged the organizers of the food banks to coordinate with the local government unit (LGU) officials to ensure that health protocols are strictly observed to avoid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as people line up for free supplies.

He noted that community pantries would face closure if minimum health standards are disregarded by the organizers.

But some residents in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal, collectively known as NCR (National Capital Region)-plus, remained skeptical over the DILG’ call, citing the country’s experience in the slow distribution of government assistance to the communities.

Cacho Santos, from Bulacan, claimed “dishonest” barangay officials were the reason why the distribution of cash assistance through the social amelioration program (SAP) in their community was allegedly hounded by irregularities.

“Sila sila lang na taga barangay ang naghahati kapag may biyaya. Mga kaibigan, kamag-anak at ka alyado kasama rin. Hindi lang dito sa Bulacan may ganid na taga barangay kundi sa ibang parte ng Pilipinas (The barangay people are the ones sharing the donations. Friends, relatives and supporters also get their share. Not only Bulacan has rogue barangay personnel but also in other parts of the Philippines),” Santos said. He did not elaborate.

On the contrary, two Quezon City barangay officials expressed support to the DILG’s move calling on the community pantry organizers to tap the localities in the distribution of the essential goods.

Kagawads (village councilors) Pia Oreta and Renato Homo, of Barangay Quirino 2-B in Quezon City, described the DILG’s order as “the most appropriate method” to carry out the charitable initiatives while avoiding mass gathering.

“Our barangay will distribute the donated items honestly to the intended beneficiaries,” the baranggay officials assured the community pantry organizers who will seek their help. (Chito A. Chavez)