The opening of a community pantry by actress Angel Locsin on Friday to celebrate her birthday attracted a huge crowd and, unfortunately, caused the death of a senior citizen.
Eventually, the community pantry was shut down.
Locsin apologized over social media for the death of the 67-year Rolando Dela Cruz, 67, as he waited for his turn at a community pantry hosted by Locsin at Barangay Holy Spirit in Quezon City. Dela Cruz was to the East Avenue Medical Center but was pronounced dead shortly after 9 a.m.
“I ask for forgiveness from the family,” Locsin said on Facebook in Filipino.
“A while ago, I went to them and talked personally with the children in the hospital,” she said
“And for the rest of my life, I will ask for forgiveness from them,” the actress added.
“As of now, I will prioritize helping the family, and I will make it my responsibility to help them get through this,” Locsin said. “I am very, very sorry,” she said.
For its part, the Quezon City government said it was not advised by the group of Locsin regarding its community pantry.
In a statement, Mayor Joy Belmonte said “it would have surely made a difference” had they been advised about Locsin’s pantry.
“Advanced coordination will allow all stakeholders to be proactive, rather than reactive. Sadly, in this case, we were not advised regarding any plans,” she said.
She then reminded pantry organizers to communicate with officials.
“While Quezon City will continue to throw its full support behind community pantry initiatives, this unfortunate incident should serve as an important reminder for organizers to please be reminded of my appeal to coordinate all efforts with the barangay, and if necessary, with the LGU (local government unit),” Belmonte’s statement read.
She said the local government is “deeply saddened” over the incident.
Locsin said the pantry was her way of celebrating her 36th birthday.
As early as 2 a.m., people flocked to the area and physical distancing was no longer observed, according to village officials.
“This was not my intention. We planned for this, including the social distancing. Maybe the people are really hungry that they tried to skip the line. I apologize to all those who were affected,” Locsin said in a social media post partly in Filipino.
The QC government will extend help to the victim’s family.“The city government will shoulder the burial expenses of Mr. dela Cruz, and will extend financial assistance to his family,” Belmonte said. SOVEREIGNPH