MANILA – Community pantry organizers must coordinate with village officials to ensure that health and safety protocols are observed in the distribution of aid to beneficiaries, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said on Friday.
“It's the organizer's responsibility to impose the health standards protocol. That's the primary reason why they have to coordinate with the LGUs (local government units) so that the latter can provide assistance,” he said in a message to the Philippine News Agency (PNA).
Año’s remarks came after a long queue of people along Commonwealth Avenue was generated by the community pantry organized by actress Angel Locsin for her 36th birthday in Barangay Holy Spirit, Quezon City.
Reports said an elderly man, who was among those who lined up to get food and other essential items at the community pantry, lost his consciousness and later died at a hospital.
“Since somebody died, the PNP (Philippine National Police) has to conduct an investigation. We cannot ascertain yet who could be liable until the completion of the investigation,” Año said.
A Radyo Pilipinas report said village officials are now mulling to file charges against Locsin for violations of protocols set by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) over the incident.
Jomar Lagarto, a village councilor, said Locsin did not coordinate with them regarding the activity, hence the absence of a crowd control system.
The report added that the activity was only for 300 beneficiaries but the crowd reached almost 3,000.
In a video posted on social media, the actress has apologized for the inconvenience caused by the incident. (PNA)