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Community pantries ‘wake up’ call for gov’t to ‘do more’ — Poe

/ 12:16 PM April 19, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The emergence of community pantries in the country is a “wake up call” for the government to “do more” to address the public’s need amid the pandemic, Senator Grace Poe said Monday as lawmakers hail the “Bayanihan” spirit of Filipinos.

“This is a sign that not all hope is lost. The good in our fellow countrymen is shown through these community pantries. However it’s a wake up call that government must do more to provide for the people,” Poe said in a message shared to reporters when sought for comment on the initiative of private citizens to lend a helping hand to those in need.

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“When will we stop reacting to the needs of the people and start anticipating them?” she added.

She said the private sector “has taken it upon themselves yet again to face the needs of the people.”

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“First it was mass testing, then it was vaccination, and now our people are finding ways to feed the hungry,” Poe pointed out.

Senator Imee Marcos likewise said that the community pantries reflect the lack of adequate aid from the government.

“Patunay lang na kaya nating Pilipinong tumayo sa sariling mga paa sa gitna ng pandemya, na kahit paano lalabanan natin ang gutom at pandemya para sa ating mga pamilya. Ang nagsulputang community pantries ang nagpapatunay na buhay na buhay ‘Bayanihan,’ pero sumasalamin din ito sa kawalan ng sapat na ayuda mula sa gobyerno,” Marcos, an administration ally, said in a separate message.

(This is proof that us Filipinos can stand on our feet amid a pandemic, that we can fight off hunger during this trying time. The community pantries that popped up is proof that ‘Bayanihan’ is alive but this also reflects the lack of enough assistance from the government.)

“Nagkakagulo pa nga ang marami dahil hindi napasama sa listahan ng [Department of Social Welfare and Development] na talagang napakagulo pa rin. Sana’y maisaayos, mapabilis at higit sa lahat madagdagan ang tulong ng pamahalaan natin sa mga pamilyang tinamaan ng sakit at nawalan ng hanapbuhay,” she added.

(Many are scrambling because their names are not included in the list of the Department of Social Welfare and Development for aid. I hope this can be corrected and for additional government assistance for families whose members have either contracted COVID-19 or succumbed to the disease.)

As the country continues to reel from the effects of the  COVID-19 pandemic, community pantries have started to emerge in different parts of the country.

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These street pantries began popping up in various neighborhoods after a small business owner in Quezon City set up the “Maginhawa Community Pantry,” a bamboo cart containing donated food and other essential goods.

Several senators, meanwhile, commended the “Bayanihan” spirit of Filipinos in the middle of the pandemic, which has restricted many from earning a living.

“This is the Bayanihan spirit of the Filipino in modern times!” Senate President Vicente Sotto III said.

“Community pantries [are] an expression of our Bayanihan spirit. We are a caring and sharing people. This will be very helpful in assisting families cope with COVID. Frankly speaking. That’s how it works. People will organize themselves to survive,” Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, meanwhile, pointed out.

Senator Nancy Binay, for her part, lauded the “unflinching desire” of Filipinos to help “whenever extraordinary circumstances call us to respond,” adding that the act of sharing need not be tainted with politics.

“It shows that Filipinos are naturally generous, compassionate, and have the heart for service. And when things seem uncertain, and despairing–community pantries are a testament that hope is not lost. Sharing does not need to have any color or politics,” Binay said.

Senator Leila de Lima, on the other hand, urged the national and local government to support communities setting up community pantries.

“While the community pantries showed the good in people, it also highlighted the government’s lack of support for Filipinos. I hope that this recent initiative by the public will prompt the government to step up its COVID-19 response. Ang kailangan: Bayanihan, hindi kapabayaan,” she said.

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, meanwhile, took notice of the “honesty system” being implemented in community pantries.

“We support these community parties and even donate food and materials to sustain it. We should support these community parties and even donate food and materials to sustain it,” he added.

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Community pantries sending message to gov’t to step up, do better

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TAGS: community pantries, coronavirus pandemic, COVID-19, Nation, News, Senator Grace Poe, Senator Imee Marcos, Senator Nancy Binay, Senator Ralph Recto, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian
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