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BAGUIO CITY— The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has issued guidelines to local government units (LGUs) in the region on how to operate/deal with community pantries.

“The operation of community pantries should also meet specific standards to avoid any accident that may cause harm not only to those seeking assistance but also to those operating and maintaining them,” DILG OIC-Regional Director Araceli San Jose said today.

She added that community pantry operations should adhere to strict guidelines in order to avoid any mishaps that could endanger not only those seeking assistance, but also, those who run and maintain them.

“The LGU shall provide assistance, which may take the form of providing a venue where the pantry can be established and operated; providing links between local producers and the pantry in case donors want to source their goods from local producers; providing security to maintain peace and order in venues where pantries are located and assisting in allowing the pantry to reach recipients who would not otherwise be physically able to travel to the location,” she said.

Adding, “LGUs should allow the unhampered operations of Community Pantries and shall enforce the health protocols as provided by ordinances, and IATF Resolutions.”

OIC – RD San Jose emphasized that LGUs should not impose any exaction or fee on Community Pantry operators as a result of their operation or for the assistance the LGU is providing to them; thus, LGU officials, personnel, or those associated with the same should not place signage, billboards, posters, names, initials, and/or images of any government official/s in Community Pantry operations, as well as the goods, donated.

“Our LGUs should not discourage the operation of community pantries, but rather support, promote, and ensure that in all their interactions with Community Pantry operators, donors, and those receiving or intending to receive aid from the same, all of their rights are respected and protected,” she said.

Furthermore, privately operated community pantries should not be subject to the requirements of LGU permits, but these should be properly coordinated with them in terms of area of operations and venue of the pantries, taking into account, among other things, compliance with the government's road clearing directives.

“No items otherwise considered illegal or harmful should be present in the Community Pantry, including alcoholic beverages and cigarettes, and everyone in the pantry should observe minimum public health standards at all times,” she added.

Meanwhile, the Department recognizes the need to supplement the provision of basic necessities to assist one another in times of need, as well as a positive response from the private sector and general public in meeting the government's envisioned a whole-of-nation approach to combating the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences.