DOH urges LGUs to issue guidelines for community pantries
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) on Monday called on local government units (LGUs) to issue guidelines so that health protocols can be properly observed in carrying out community pantry initiatives.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in an online press briefing that there is no need to stop the operations of such pantries, but noted that its organizers should be properly guided so that it would not be an area for transmission of coronavirus.
She added that the DOH recognizes such efforts to help other people in need in the time of pandemic.
“I call on our local governments na sana tingnan natin ang mga pantries na ito. Bigyan lang natin ng guidance kung paano natin maisasaayos ang proseso para mas organized and we can prevent further infections dulot ng mga pantries na ito,” said Vergeire.
(I call on our local governments to take a look at these pantries. They should be given guidance so that its operations will be organized and we can prevent the spread of infection in these pantries.)
Community pantries have recently sprouted in several areas after the first pantry set up along Maginhawa Street in Quezon City. In community pantries, people can donate goods that can then be taken by those in need.
Vergeire noted that community pantries also benefit the physical and mental wellness of the public during the pandemic.
“Hindi kailangan namang itigil dahil sa tingin ko malaking tulong din ito both sa physical wellness and mental wellness ng ating mga kababayan. ‘Yung mga nakikita nila na may mga handang tumulong ay malaking bagay ‘yan para sa kumpiyansa at para sa wellness mentally ng ating mga kababayan,” she said.
(We don’t need to stop them because I think these pantries are good for the physical and mental wellness of our countrymen. Seeing that there are people who are ready to help will greatly benefit the confidence and mental wellness of the people.)
For Malacañang, the emergence of community pantries is a full display of the “best in us during the worst of times.” However, some people and even lawmakers have pointed out that the appearance of community pantries is a “sign of desperation” and serves as a “wake-up call” for the government to do more in its pandemic response.
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