Several Metro Manila mayors rejected Tuesday the need for a permit to set up community pantries as the capital region remained under strict COVID-19 restrictions.
Mayors Isko Moreno, Vico Sotto, and Rex Gatchalian of the cities of Manila, Pasig, and Valenzuela, have all shunned permits for community pantries.
Department of Interior and Local Government Usec. for Barangay Affairs Martin Diño earlier said organizers of community pantries need to apply for permits with their respective local government units.
"We won’t require permits. Good deeds need no permit," Moreno said in a tweet, noting that he has instructed the Manila Police not to arrest anyone organizing community pantries in the capital city.
"We encourage Manilans to show compassion, care and love to one another," he added.
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Mayor Sotto meanwhile commended those who took the initiative to organize community pantries, saying Pasig City is not requiring any "permit to help."
"Community Pantries have sprung up in Pasig. We commend the individuals who are helping as they can afford. Government has limited resources, so any effort to help others is very welcome," he said in a tweet. "Para sa mga nagtatanong, hindi kailangan ng permit. Wala po tayong 'Permit to Help'."
Those thinking about setting up a community pantry in Valenzuela City can freely go ahead, Mayor Gatchalian said, noting that only observance of COVID-19 protocols is needed.
"Community pantries are allowed in Valenzuela City. No need for special permits. Just make sure minimum health standards and social distancing will be observed at all times. Also, no minors and not within curfew hours," he said.
"Just set it up. If somebody gives you trouble let me know... ako bahala sa kanila," he added.
Earlier in the day, Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte also expressed support for community pantries after the organizer of the first one in her city expressed apprehensions due to supposed red-tagging.
Several community pantries have popped up around the country following the first one in Maginhawa, Quezon City.