Senator Joel Villanueva said he hopes that the community pantries that have sprung up in various parts of the country would inspire not only the people, but also the government, to “act fast” on the plight of pandemic-hit households.
While lauding on Monday, April 19, what he called the “love thy neighbor” practice in community pantries, Villanueva said the initiatives of private individuals were “sadly, an indictment of their government’s many weaknesses in giving help.”
“This is a way of responding to the urgent call of communities for help. But to survive the pandemic, we need the government to be more precise in its action. I hope that the community pantries continue to inspire us. I hope it also inspires the government to act fast,” said the chairperson of the Senate labor committee.
“This is a teachable moment for those in the public sector,” he added.
Villanueva further said: “When people are putting rice in the empty pots of their neighbors, they are banging those pots as well to call the government’s attention to their plight.”
Other senators also said the sprouting of community pantries in the country should prompt the government to improve its COVID-19 response.
The community pantry was started by Ana Patricia Non, who set up a bamboo cart with donated food items in Maginhawa Street, Quezon City to help those affected by the pandemic. Poor citizens line up for basic needs such as food, rice and vegetables, while other citizens continued to donate goods in the makeshift pantry.
From Quezon City, the initiative has been replicated in other cities in Metro Manila, as well as in Baguio City, and the provinces of Pangasinan, Pampanga, Bulacan, Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, Quezon, Camarines Sur, among several others.
Malacañang, meanwhile, had commended the move for showing the “Bayanihan” spirit among Filipinos.