Community pantries demonstrate Filipinos’ character, says Roque; rejects view that these ‘condemn’ gov’t’s COVID-19 response

Published April 19, 2021, 2:29 PM

by Argyll Cyrus Geducos

Malacañang does not regard the emergence of community pantries in different parts of the country as a condemnation of the government but as a show of the best Filipino character.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque (MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque made the statement after former Vice President Jejomar Binary said the community pantries sprouted due to the “absence” of assistance coming from the government during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

In his press briefing on Monday, Roque did not share Binay’s sentiment. 

“We disagree po. Tingin natin itong mga community pantry nagpapakita na bayanihan ang umiiral, hindi bangayan (We view these community pantries as a show of unity and not conflict),” he said.

“I don’t see that as a condemnation of government. It simply shows the best in us during the worst of times,” he added.

He appealed to the public to not politicize the community pantries, especially when everyone’s focus should be on addressing the pandemic.

“Sa panahon ng matinding pandemya, sa panahon ng surge na ito, kinakailangan ay sama-sama ang Pilipino dahil kung hindi tayo magtutulungan, sino pa ang magtutulungan (During this pandemic, this surge, we need to unite because we have no one to help us but ourselves),” Roque said.

“Tigil po muna ang pulitika, ‘yan po ang pakiusap natin. ‘Wag po sa panahon na nagkakaroon ng ganitong surge. Bayanihan muna po tayo (So our appeal is let’s drop the politics, not during this time of a surge. Let’s help each other out),” he added.

Meanwhile, Roque lauded those who took part and establishing their own community pantries.

“Saludo po tayo sa lahat ng mga Filipino at talaga namang pong nagpapakita na (We commend all Filipinos and this shows that) the Filipino can and will prevail lalo na po pag matindi ang paghamon (especially in challenging times),” he said.

“The community pantry represents the best in the Filipino. I don’t think anyone can claim to be a founder of that. I think this is a spontaneous movement amongst Filipinos. It is part of our psyche to help one another,” he added.

He, however, reminded the public to keep a watchful eye on the community pantries as these may break quarantine protocols.

“Dahil panahon po ng pandemya, kung magiging dahilan ‘yan ng pagkumpol-kumpulan, siyempre po yung mga lokal na pamahalaan baka kailangan manghimasok just to make sure na safe ang lahat (Because we are in a pandemic, if this will cause people to form crowds, the local government may have to intervene just to make sure that everyone is safe),” Roque said.