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President Rodrigo Duterte suggested a scheduling system to facilitate orderly operations of community pantries amid the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic, according to a report by Philippine News Agency.

In a pre-recorded meeting with Cabinet members, Duterte said it would be “easier” to control the number of people lining up for free food supplies if they were asked to show up per sitio and purok instead of per barangay.

“Sa (In a) barangay there is the purok and sitio. You can always schedule it for the purok so iilan lang ‘yan maglinya (so only a few would line up). Then after that, the sitio will be the next venue. And the third is so forth and so on,” he said.


He said scheduling the number of people allowed to line up would prevent overcrowding.

“Let’s start with the basic political unit…it’s really the barangay and the mga sitio then the purok. Pag maglinya lang sila then sabihin nila ‘You’re next’, ganun sana (They should line up and be told ‘you’re next’. It would be better that way),” he added.

Duterte, however, lamented that there were some mayors and barangay officials who failed to assist in facilitating orderly community pantry operations because they were “ignorant.”

“What they do is just to show to the people that they care but they do not really care because of their ignorance,” he said.

‘Epal’ politicians

Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año, for his part, urged community pantry organizers to ensure the safety of their beneficiaries by implementing health and safety protocols to prevent a spike in Covid-19 cases.

He said "epal" politicians, or those who place their photos or names in projects, are not allowed in community pantries.

“Hindi po natin papayagan na magkakaroon ng epal o yung tinatawag natin maglalagay ng ano mang signage, billboards, posters, pictures, pangalan, initial o images ng mga tao na nagsasagawa ng community pantry lalo na po ang mga politicians na gusto pumapel dito sa community pantry (We will not allow any epal or those who place signange, billboards, posters, names, initials, or images of people putting up community pantries especially politicians who want to claim credit for it),” he said.

Malacañang earlier described community pantries as a representation of “the best in the Filipino character.”

Community pantries started popping up across the country to provide food and other forms of assistance to people severely affected by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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