Senator Sonny Angara on Sunday urged the government and private entities to replicate the community pantries that have been sprouting in various areas across the country amid the pandemic, but Senator Panfilo Lacson described this trend as a sign of desperation.
“We encourage our local government units, the national government, and even private businesses who can afford to replicate and even scale up these community pantries to cater to even more people,” Angara said.
One small gesture when duplicated by a large number of people, Angara said, will amount to something very meaningful.
But Lacson emphasized that these makeshift community pantries only show that the people can no longer rely on the government to help them.
“It is good that through the community pantries, we see mutual aid by neighbors and barangay residents. But this is also a sign of desperation, that people can no longer rely on government to help them,” he said in an interview on DZBB radio.
Angara related that what was apparently started in Maginhawa in Quezon City has now been replicated in several other areas within and outside of Metro Manila.
“It is encouraging to see more Filipinos demonstrating the bayanihan spirit by putting up community pantries for the benefit of people who are struggling during these very challenging times,” Angara said.
“The distribution of vegetables, fruits, rice, water and noodles to an individual, family of group of persons is just a small thing but a big help to those suffering after losing their job,” he said.
These small efforts by private citizens could have an even greater impact if the government and businesses will participate, starting in the areas where they are situated.
He said that huge budgets are not necessary here because during these trying times, any kind of help that will go to those in need is appreciated.
Meanwhile, Lacson said those involved in community pantries must also remember to follow the health protocols to make sure they do not get infected.
Lacson also voiced concern that President Rodrigo Duterte’s recent claim that the government had no shortcomings in dealing with the pandemic might send the wrong signal to his subordinates.
He said that if the President’s subordinates such as Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. think they are doing no wrong, they would not make adjustments to the way they do their jobs.