THE Cebu City Market Operations Division will organize community pantries at the Carbon Public Market complex.
Market Officer Irvin Cabales encouraged vendors to donate unsold produce like fruits, vegetables and meat to help those who are feeling the hardships brought about by the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.
Cabales also hopes to reach out to farmers in mountain barangays to turn over any excess agricultural products.
He said they will be monitoring and checking the quality of products at market complex’s community pantries.
City Councilor Alvin Dizon delivered a privilege speech during the council’s regular session on Wednesday, April 21, 2021, where he encouraged the public to set up their own community pantries, or “kindness stations,” in their respective sitios and barangays.
The movement, which originated in Quezon City, made him recall the Cebu City Food Bank and Urban Food Gardening Ordinances, which he authored.
Dizon also urged the executive department to implement approved ordinances to help residents who are struggling to buy food.
The council approved The Food Bank Ordinance on Aug. 12, 2020. The mayor later approved it on Sept. 1.
The ordinance aims to establish a food bank to be managed by the Department of Social Welfare and Services, with a governing board led by a representative of the mayor, and an initial budget of P3 million.
More community pantries are being established in Barangays Guadalupe, Tisa, Apas and Pasil.
Rhenadette Socajel of One-Guadalupe, a youth organization in Cebu City that established the community pantry in Guadalupe, said the community pantry has been running smoothly during its first three days of operation.
However, Socajel said people should only take what they need so they can leave some food for others.
She said their organization will establish more community pantries in the barangay.
Lan Cabatingan, organizer of the community pantry in Barangay Tisa, said their biggest challenge is restocking the goods. That’s why they temporarily stopped their operation, although their community pantry will reopen on Friday, April 23. After Friday, they will have to stop again and resume operation next week, he said.
Cabatingan said they need time for donors to procure goods, adding that they will be coordinating with local farmers and fishermen for this purpose.
Meanwhile, police in Cebu City have expressed their support for the initiative.
Cebu City Police Office Director Col. Josefino Ligan said he saw no problem with helping people who have suffered because of the health crisis.
“Organizing a community pantry with the pure intention of helping our less fortunate brothers and sisters is a good move,” Ligan said in a mix of Cebuano and English.
He just wants to make sure that those who participate in community pantries observe minimum health standards to prevent disease transmission like wearing face masks and practicing social distancing.
The Quezon City Police District (QCPD) received flak when it shared an unfounded social post on its official Facebook page linking community pantries to the communist
Various sectors called out the government’s red-tagging of a private civic action, prompting the QCPD to delete the post and apologize.
In a turnaround, the QCPD released a statement praising the initiative as a “noble cause.” (JJL, AYB / PJB)