Iloilo mayor urges Ilonggos to set up more community pantries
ILOILO CITY—Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas is encouraging Ilonggos to put up community pantries amid a growing outrage over attempts by functionaries of the Duterte administration to red-tag the growing movement which gives free food to people struggling with their daily meals because of the pandemic.
“To clarify the matter of community pantries in Iloilo City, as the duly elected city mayor of our beloved city, I am encouraging all organizers,” said Trenas in a statement.
“Let us show our Bayanihan spirit in helping one another,” the mayor said.
“You do not need to be elected or appointed to help our least privileged sectors of society,” he said.
The city government since 2020 put up 240 community kitchens providing free meals to residents suffering the most from quarantine restrictions.
Bulk of the funding for the community kitchens come from donations from private individuals and companies.
Treñas said he fully supports all organizers of community pantries.
“You do not need my permission to help your fellow Ilonggos,” he said.
Several private groups and individuals have replicated the Maginhawa community pantry in Quezon City.
Maginhawa pantry organizer Ana Patricia Non earlier raised concern for her safety and that of volunteers after several Duterte functionaries red-tagged the initiative and described it as a communist effort.
Non cited a Facebook post by the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac) which claimed that the community pantries were being used for propaganda by communist rebels to make it appear that the government was not doing anything to help people put food on their tables.
The NTF-Elcac was formed to supposedly implement an all-of-government strategy to end the insurgency and has received at least P19 billion in funding for 2021. Among its tasks was to identify a village as insurgency-free and give that village P20 million in funds for supposedly development projects.
Several senators had asked Malacanang to instead use the task force budget to help people who lost their jobs during the pandemic and help them with their daily meals.
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