Community pantries an act of resistance vs. gov’t’s ‘indifference’, progressive solons say

Published April 19, 2021, 3:12 PM

by Hannah Torregoza 

Bayan Muna Representative Carlso Isagani Zarate on Monday, April 19, said the community pantries that have sprouted up in various parts of Metro Manila and nearby provinces is “an act of resistance” of the people against the Duterte administration’s supposed indifference and negligence amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

(Ron Fortaliza Facebook / MANILA BULLETIN)

The House deputy minority leader lamented that even as this movement has spread all over the country, Malacañang had nothing to say in response but merely claims it is still studying the possibility of giving additional cash assistance.

“We should not forget that the rise of community pantries is emblematic of how the present administration, despite the available resources, grossly failed in its obligations to help millions of our poor people cope with the ravages of the crisis,” Zarate said.

“We should strongly demand accountability even as we continue to support these temporary measures the best way we could to help our suffering people,” the progressive solon further said.

Gabriela Women’s Party Representative Arlene Brosas echoed Zarate’s observation, saying the community pantries reflect the “dire state of the Filipino people that is suffering amid the economic crisis.”

“The spread of community pantries is a scathing indictment of Duterte’s failed pandemic response and outright refusal to provide sufficient cash subsidy despite trillions in loans,” Brosas said in a separate statement.

“Wala dapat community pantry pero dahil sa kapalpakan ng gobyerno kinailangang kumilos at mag-inisyatiba ang masang naghihikahos (There should be no community pantry but because of the government’s failure, people needed to take action and make an initiative to help those who are in dire need),” she pointed out.

She also said the community pantry is not just a “bayanihan” initiative but a “collective protest movement against the Duterte administration’s criminal negligence.”

That is why, she reiterated, Congress should fast-track the passage of House Bill No. 9089 or the measure that seeks to grant P10,000 cash assistance to 18 million low-ince and poor families over the next two months.

“We are urging our colleagues at the Lower House to heed the call of their constituents and fast-track the passage of the 10k Ayuda Bill to provide immediate relief to Filipino families,” she stressed.