First community pantry in Daraga, Albay sprouts

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Courtesy: Jessica Marcellana

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 21) — The first community pantry in the town of Daraga, Albay opened on Tuesday in a remote village of Lacag.

The organizer, Jessica Marcellana, is a government employee working for the Albay provincial government’s health emergency unit.

She said she would like to use her influence in the community by convincing more of her friends to put up a pantry like hers. She added that one of her friends will be setting up a community pantry in Legazpi, the first in the city.

Despite threats, Marcellana said she does not fear any red tagging as she has nothing to hide, and her motive is only to help.

She said they are also planning to make their pantry roving to bring it to more places and make it more accessible for people. This Saturday, the pantry will be brought to Legazpi’s boulevard, she added.

Several groups and individuals, especially in Metro Manila, recently opened their own community pantries in their respective areas to provide basic needs for free to their fellow residents.

However, some organizers decided to temporarily stop operations due to security concerns after alleged red-tagging activities and profiling of organizers and volunteers by public authorities, which were later on denied by the Philippine National Police.

Lawmakers and local governments have expressed their support for the community pantries amid such issues.