Some of the residents that benefits the feeding program of the Communal Pot at El Nido. // Image from The Communal Pot.


A community canteen in El Nido that offers free food to the needy announced they were temporarily suspending their operations, stating they find it difficult to comply with the physical distancing and other protocols now being strictly enforced by local authorities.

The Communal Pot, a canteen that was put up at the height of the pandemic by a group of mostly foreign nationals staying in El Nido, has been providing free meals to the needy on a daily basis.

Alec Stretti, one of the founders of Community Pot, admitted they have found it difficult to strictly impose physical distancing and the use of face masks and face shields on the large number of beneficiaries that come to them.

“The barangay asked us to (strictly) observe the 1-meter social distancing, plus to wear face shields. We tried to do it but it was impossible. Our place is too small, and we receive too many people for lunch and dinner,” Stretti told Palawan News.

The canteen offered its last food serving on Monday before announcing a temporary suspension, after their attention was called by Masagana barangay captain Edilberto Templado, Jr.

“We asked what would happen if we could not [observe standard health protocols]. They said we will be fined. So we don’t want to be fined for not respecting the law. We preferred to close until this 1m distancing law will be lifted. Which is really sad for us and the people in need,” Stretti said.

She added that their group will be meeting with barangay officials to discuss how they can continue their feeding program.

“We will try to find some solutions with the barangay or the municipality. We will be talking with them on Monday [August 31],” she said.

According to their social media page, The Communal Pot has served 15,993 meals since June 8. It has been relying on private donations for their ingredients and to pay the wages of their staff for the project.