MMDA discourages community pantries during lockdown

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 3) — An official on Tuesday discouraged opening community pantries to help struggling Metro Manila residents during the two-week hard lockdown for fear that queues may turn into COVID-19 superspreader events.

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chairman Benhur Abalos said organizers should coordinate with local government units instead for the possible delivery of food and other goods on their doorsteps. He stressed that Metro Manila residents are required to stay home during the enhanced community quarantine.

"I-coordinate na lang para maipagbahay-bahay ito. As much as possible kasi ang purpose ng ECQ ay talagang huwag lumabas ng bahay. Kung magpapapila tayo sa labas at magbibigay tayo, baka magkagulo," he said in a media briefing.

[Translation: Let us coordinate so it can be delivered house-to-house. The purpose of the ECQ is for everyone to stay at home. If they line up in community pantries, it might cause a commotion.]

The community pantry initiative, where residents can donate basic goods to help fellow citizens in need amid the pandemic, started along Maginhawa Street in Quezon City during the ECQ period in April. After going viral on social media, more pantries and carts sprang up in various areas in Metro Manila and other regions.