No permit needed for community pantries to operate — ARTA
MANILA, Philippines — Contrary to the Department of the Interior and Local Government’s (DILG) earlier announcement, the Anti-Red Tape Authority said that community pantries do not have to obtain a permit to operate because there is nothing in the Citizen’s Charter that requires it.
However, ARTA Director General Jeremiah Belgica emphasized that coordination with barangay officials is important to ensure the safety of pantry organizers and beneficiaries.
“Ay hindi ho, hindi kailangan ng permit ‘yan, hindi naman ‘to business eh,” said ARTA Director-General Jeremiah Belgica in a live video on Facebook.
(It is not a business, so there is no need for a permit.)
“Kung lahat ng mga pakikipagkapwa-tao kailangan ng permit eh mahihirapan ho talaga tayo sa pandemya,” he added
(We will undoubtedly have a more difficult time during the pandemic if we require permits for all types of fellowships.)
Belgica even encouraged barangay officials to coordinate with other villages to help local pantries with their cause.
“Kasi ano to eh bayanihan, ito talaga yung gusto ng Pangulo,” said Belgica.
(As a Bayanihan, this is what the President wants.)
The Citizen’s Charter does not require donation drives to have a permit, he added.
Earlier, DILG Undersecretary for Barangay Affairs Martin Diño said that community pantry organizers would need to get a permit from local authorities to ensure compliance with safety protocols and social distancing.
Recently, some social media posts branded community pantries as communist propaganda, prompting organizers to pause operations out of fear of red-tagging.
Ana Patricia Non, the pantry organizer, recently asked for help, saying that police had profiled her and had asked three members of the force for her number.
Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte has since then demanded the city authorities explain the incident.
The police in Manila have also allegedly profiled organizers of neighborhood food pantries.
However, MPD Director Brig. Gen. Leo Francisco clarified that he did not order any profiling of the community pantry organizers — he only ordered that peace and order be maintained in the area.
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