Quezon City Releases Community Pantry Guidelines to Reduce Health Risks


Organizers are expected to enforce health and order protocols in community pantries

Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte has released guidelines for managing community pantries to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission in her city.

While the QC government reiterated its “full support” for community initiatives to share free goods with those in need in extended quarantine, Belmonte stressed the need for pantries to adhere to minimum health protocols and to ensure order.

“The City wholeheartedly supports such efforts, as they promote the spirit of civic-mindedness or bayanihan and help resolve the economic difficulties linked to the pandemic … these pantries must be aware of the need to comply with minimum health protocols , as well as to guarantee sanitation and order in their environment, ”Belmonte said in his memorandum.

Belmonte released the guidelines on Friday, April 23, the same day a man died of “natural causes” while queuing in actress and philanthropist Angel Locsin’s community pantry in Quezon City. (READ: Angel Locsin apologizes for crowd chaos after man dies in community pantry queue)

It was aimed at all the barangays in Quezon City; city ​​departments, offices and working groups; and the general public.

According to the memorandum from the local government posted on its website on Saturday, April 24, those who wish to set up a community pantry must submit a written notice to the barangay where the pantry is located, and that it must also indicate the person responsible for it. .

Barangay permits or authorizations are not required to operate community pantries in Quezon City.

Under city guidelines, community pantry organizers must:

  • Wear face masks and face shields
  • Require customers to wear at least face masks before they can get products
  • Apply a distance of one meter between online clients
  • Prohibit eating and drinking near the pantry
  • Prohibit customers from touching or unnecessarily handling the items on display
  • Maintain cleanliness near the pantry
  • Be responsible for food safety (food must be fresh)
  • Adopt a system to “mitigate abuse following reports of some people exploiting the community pantry and taking more than their fair share.” This may include the imposition of limits per person or per household.

Community pantries are also only allowed to operate from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Expansion, challenges

Since Ana Patricia Non opened the country’s first known community pantry on Maginhawa Street in Quezon City on April 14, the initiative has spread nationally and even to other countries. (READ: ‘Inspired’ by Filipinos: East Timorese volunteers open community pantry)

There are around 300 to date in the Philippines – 70 in Quezon City alone.

On Friday, the Maginhawa Community Pantry announced its new location – which now houses 9 pantries.

In the span of about a week, the pantry organizers faced several challenges such as red marking by government officials. Non’s pantry had to close temporarily due to concerns about the safety of volunteers.

Police have been reported to visit community pantries and ask about the organizers, although the Philippine National Police said they did not order this. The National Task Force Against Local Communists, meanwhile, admitted to profiling them.

The red marking and profiling of community pantry organizers had prompted the Senate and House to threaten to fund the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflicts (NTF-ELCAC), which red marked the organizers of community pantry, in particular No.

The National Commission for the Protection of Privacy (NPC) had strongly condemned what it called the “unfair profiling” of community pantry organizers, and said it risked violating citizens’ right to life. private.

On Tuesday, April 20, Malaca̱ang said the task force should not hamper the work of community pantries. РRappler.com


Norma P. Rex