December 10, 2022

In Baguio City, organizers of community pantries are given the utmost freedom to pursue their initiative that allows people to donate essential stuff for those in need.

Mayor Benjamin Magalong said the city government will not hinder individuals and groups that want to mount community pantries.

But he has asked the organizers to tap the assistance of the Baguio City Police Office, Public Order and Safety Division, and the barangay peace and order councils in ensuring that minimum health standards are in place when the situation requires.

“The concept of community pantry has really impressed us. This is an exercise of people’s initiative at its fullest and as such we are grateful for all those who took lead. We encourage this practice as it is reflective of the Cordilleran binnadang culture, a symbol of the Filipino bayanihan spirit,” Magalong said in a Facebook message shared by the City Public Information Office.

“We assure the citizens of Baguio that the city government shall not hinder or hamper those kindhearted individuals who wish to come up with their community pantries for the benefit of the people. No permits shall be required for the conduct of community pantries in the city.”

So far, the community pantries in Baguio have been set up at the City Hall, Igorot Garden, University of the Philippines Baguio, Pinsao Pilot Project, Marcelo H. del Pilar St., Yangco Road, Legarda Road, Leonila Hill, and Magsaysay.

Controversies hounded the community pantry, first set up in Quezon City by business owner Ana Patricia Non, when the military and law enforcement agencies claimed the idea is a communist groups-initiated activity.

The community pantry allows people to donate what they can, usually food items, and for those benefitting to only take what they need.

Young civic leader Ryan Dale Mang-usan commended the prime movers of the community pantry and condemned the red-tagging of those behind the initiative.

“The community pantry is a community initiative. It is a voluntary movement to help the much needy at this time. The government may acknowledge and recognize the initiators, help in the peace and order situation and the observance of health protocol; but should not regulate, interfere, and give meaning to its intention,” Mangusan said in his Facebook post. 

The community pantry is from the heart and is always done with good intention. It is using one’s own resources with the help of family, friends, and the community as well. The movement is not also for personal aggrandizement, personal agenda, or political dreams. It is never to be used as addition to the lined up achievements, credentials, medals, plaques, and honor otherwise it will defeat the very purpose of helping.” – Jane B. Cadalig