Home / Points of View & Perspectives / Sustaining the community pantries
Intramuros, Manila residents distribute food items like eggs, noodles, sardines, rice, and vegetables near the San Agustin Church on Sunday (April 25, 2021). The concept of community pantries is prevalent these days as Filipinos help each other out amid the Covid-19 crisis. (PNA photo by Avito C. Dalan)

Sustaining the community pantries

Promises that will never, ever be fulfilled – like the jet-ski promise to the Spratly islands:

  • “I will resign.” – Gen. Parlade
  • “If oil is found in the West Philippine Sea, I will claim it.” – the President

Now that red-tagging of community pantry organizers had subsided (after a deluge of online bashing against the accusers), focus turns to vaccine deliveries that come in trickles despite proud announcement of million-dose procurement.

The community pantries provide significant hope to hungry Filipinos who don’t care if vaccines are available.

Getting vaccinated is tedious: pre-register at barangay AND city hall; get an official ID to pre-register; wait for confirmation (which never comes because they’re busy); locate vaccination site; line up for half a day; get pre-checked by a nurse before inoculation; wait one hour after for side-effects.

Lines are always longer at community pantries compared to vaccination centers.

Those who persist at condemning the pantries gang up on Angel Locsin who is being blamed for the untimely death of a senior citizen who waited in line.

The top UP official who maliciously or unintentionally attributed the cause of death to “community pantry” had resigned.

But those who continue to tag pantry organizers are communists have met a barrage of opposition from lawyer and church groups.

Comparing Patricia Non, organizer of the first community pantry, to Satan who caused Eve to commit the original sin, got even wider support for Patricia, especially from the clergy.

Community pantries that solely rely on generous donors suddenly need approval from local government units. Local officials can now use pantries to put up tents and tarpaulins advertising their names and faces.

The spirit of spontaneity and bayanihan was killed by the mayors.

In the guise of creating order among beneficiaries, local officials succeeded at politicizing the unique phenomenon.

A pantry with a certificate of approval is not immune from heart attacks among those who line up.

City and barangay officials can exert influence on pantry applications, creating new layers of red tape. The anti-terror council can demand that organizers declare their past and present affiliations.

Sustaining these pantries will not depend on influx of donations, but on the interference of government agencies who want to have a piece of the goodwill generated here and abroad. Remember: election is exactly 12 months away.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *