The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) today urged philanthropists to find a safer way in giving food to elderly Filipinos after the death of a 67-year-old vendor who went to Angel Locsin’s community pantry.
“We are asking community pantry organizers to look for a way [to safely give the food] so that the elderly no longer have to queue. Look for a way; they can give it to the village [officials] so that the village can deliver it from one house to another and they can help in a safer and more effective way,” DILG spokesman Jonathan Malaya said in English and Filipino in an interview on the news program Unang Hirit.
The DILG had already issued two rules for organizers to follow: first, they have to coordinate with village officials, and second, they must ensure that everyone getting food from the pantry are people who are residents of the community. Malaya said that pantries could become superspreader areas if they attract a large number of people.
“This is for the community, not for people living in other places. If you invited or encouraged people from other areas…we will have a problem. It is better to limit it to our neighbors, to people in our community,” Malaya said.
The government official also said that under the modified enhanced community quarantine, the elderly are not allowed to leave their homes because they have a higher chance of getting severe cases of COVID-19.
Locsin had already apologized for the vendor’s death, who fainted while he was waiting for his turn at the pantry. Locsin organized the food bank to celebrate her birthday, but it turned chaotic when at least 5,000 people showed up. The DILG is already investigating the case to determine who should be liable for the vendor’s death.
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