TACLOBAN CITY – Police stations in Eastern Visayas have set up 130 Barangayanihan, a community pantry-like initiative designed to strengthen ties between the police and communities.
From April 23 to 26, at least 30 Barangayanihan have been set up in Northern Samar, 27 in Samar, 29 in Eastern Samar, 21 in Southern Leyte, 15 in Leyte, five in Ormoc City, and three in Tacloban City.
Philippine National Police (PNP) regional director Brig. Gen. Rolando de Jesus said in a statement Wednesday that the police have been extending assistance to the poor even before the rise of community pantries.
“We just add Barangayanihan in the name of our outreach program to highlight our linkage with communities not just in maintaining peace and order, crime prevention especially during the pandemic,” de Jesus said.
Barangayanihan is a combination of the term barangay (village or community) and bayanihan (teamwork).
Various police stations in six provinces of the region have been carrying out the initiative with a twist.
In several police stations in Northern Samar, donated goods were displayed inside the PNP mobile car, manned by police officers and volunteers to ensure compliance with basic health protocols.
In this city, the police station has opened the Barangayanihan every Thursday with basic food supplies and hygiene kits. The initiative will also go mobile soon, according to the local police.
Meanwhile, more community pantries have been set up in Eastern Visayas, demonstrating solidarity during a health crisis.
After the region’s first community pantry set up in the island town of Biri, Northern Samar province, and several areas also started their pantries last week.
There are also community pantries organized in this city, Ormoc City, and Tanauan in Leyte; Catarman, San Roque, Pambujan, Palapag, and Mondragon in Northern Samar; Oras and Guiuan in Eastern Samar; Catbalogan City and Calbayog City in Samar.
In Catarman, Clena Ong, one of the organizers of the community pantry, said that doing the project is a collective effort of her town-mates.
“Our main goal is to help as many people as possible especially the victims of Typhoon Bising,” Ong added.
Her group established the community pantry in front of the Catarman Cathedral. (PNA)