Manila Bulletin

Good deeds need no permit, say Mayors Isko, Vico, Joy


Good deeds or helping others do not need any permit.

This was emphasized by Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno”

Domagoso, Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto, and Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte in the wake of reports that some officials have

asking those operating community pantries to secure permits before they operate.

Domagoso said on Tuesday, April 20, “Good deeds need no permit,” Domagoso said Tuesday, April 20, after he was asked if community pantries need to acquire a permit.

“We don't require permit, good deeds need no permit,” Domagoso said.

Like Domagoso, Sotto said on Tuesday that no permit is needed to open a community pantry in Pasig City.

The young mayor lauded individual­s who already opened their own community pantries to help those badly affected by the pandemic.

“Para sa mga nagtatanon­g, hindi kailangan ng permit. Wala po tayong ‘Permit to Help’ (For people who are asking, there is no need for a permit. There is no ‘Permit to Help’),” he posted on Twitter.

“We commend the individual­s who are helping as they can afford. Government has limited resources, so any effort to help others is very welcome.”

In Quezon City, Belmonte said community pantries in Quezon City do not need to secure a permit to operate.

“No, not at all. No permit is necessary,” Belmonte told ANC when asked if community pantries need to secure a permit from the Quezon City government.

Belmonte said permits are only necessary if an individual is selling something.

“But if she’s doing an act of goodwill, of compassion, of humanitari­an activity. If she’s doing an act of kindness and of love that is something to emulate and to praise, that does not require any regulation from the government,” the mayor added.

The three Metro Manila mayors gave their respective stand after the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said on Tuesday that community pantry organizers should consult with their respective barangays if “such is required.”

Domagoso expressed his gratitude toward community pantry organizers that amid the COVID-19 pandemic they are still helping and offering kindness with their fellow citizens.

"Nagpapasal­amat ako sa Diyos na sa gitna ng kahirapan ng bawat isa sa pandemya ito umiral ang pagmamahal at pagmamalas­akitan ng ating kapwa (I thank God that in the midst of everyone's poverty in this pandemic there was the love and concern to our fellow men),” he said.

He added: “Maraming salamat sa lahat ng mamamayan na gumagawa ng kabutihan sa kapwa manatili po sanang ganyan at walang susuko kaya natin ito at may awa ang Diyos makakaraos din tayo (Thank you very much to all the people who do good to others, please stay like that and no one will give up, we can do this and God has mercy, we can survive this).”

Domagoso said that this act of giving can help inspire the city government food security program.

“At ito ay gagamitin natin inspirasyo­n sa paglilingk­od sa bayan upang pagbutihin pa ang ang serbisyo ng pamahalaan lungsod lalo na yung FSP natin or food security program 2021 (And we will use this inspiratio­n to serve the people to further improve the service of the city government especially our FSP or food security program 2021),” Domagoso said.

Around 300 community pantries have popped up around the country, inspired by the Maginhawa Community Pantry in Quezon City, which closed for a day due to red-tagging. It resumed operations on Wednesday.

Ana Patricia Non, the proponent of the pantry that inspired more than 300 community pantries in the country, opened it again after securing a team that would ensure their safety.

“Gusto po namin sana na magfocus tayo sa community pantry. Mas marami naman pong sumusuport­a kesa nambabatik­os and ayaw ko po ibuhos yung energy ko sa mga taong hindi nakakainti­ndi (We want people to focus on the community pantry. There are more people who are supportive than those who criticize. And I don't want to pour all my energy to those people who cannot understand),” Non told reporters as she reopened the pantry.

Videos on social media showed individual­s lining up for the pantry as early as 5 a.m. or right after the end of curfew hours as donations, even those from the marginaliz­ed sectors, continued to pour in.

In the early morning of Tuesday, Non announced that the pantry would take a “pause” for the “safety” of the volunteers. This came after the Quezon City Police District and the national government's task force against communism red-tagged the community pantries.

Currently, there are already at least 70 community pantries in Quezon City, according to data provided to Mayor Belmonte.

Belmonte on Wednesday assured Non of the local government's support to her initiative and told the latter that the city would take care of her.

“I just looked at the data. And because of your single act of love and kindness, you have inspired more than 300 community pantries all over the country. In Quezon City alone, there are 70 community pantries,” Belmonte told Non in an ANC interview.

“When I think about you... I always tell the people of the Quezon City Hall, support nyo si Patricia, maganda yung ginagawa kasi naiiisip ko si Greta Thunderg or si Malala Yousafzai, 'yung mga nanalong kabataan ng Nobel Peace Prize (because she's doing a good job. And I remember Greta Thunberg and Malala Yousafzai, those who won the Nobel Peace Prize), just because they have pure hearts and they're fighting for something they believe in.

Belmonte also said that “change begins because of people like Non.”

EPD pantry

Among the new community pantries is the one put up by the Eastern Police District on Caruncho Avenue, a few blocks away from the Pasig City Hall.

Available at the EPD pantry are canned goods, instant noodles, face masks, face shields, Bible, PNP Journal Magazine, among others.

Amid allegation­s of red-tagging on organizers of community pantries, an official of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecre­tary and spokespers­on Jonathan Malaya said even leftist groups could set up their own since the main purpose is to help the poor amid the crisis brought by the coronaviru­s disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

But Malaya urged left-leaning organizati­ons to just stick to the main purpose of helping instead of politicizi­ng the act of kindness which is the real intention of the community pantries. (With a report from Chito Chavez)

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