In the Navy: PH Navy sets up own community pantry amid red-tagging spree

Published April 24, 2021, 2:20 PM

by Manila Bulletin

Not all soldiers subscribe to the idea that there is some degree of evilness behind community pantry initiatives.

In Manila, Philippine Navy personnel set up their own community pantry beside their main headquarters on Roxas Boulevard on Friday, April 23, a move described as a slap on the face of fellow soldier Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade who red-tagged the young woman who initiated the first community pantry on Maginhawa Street in Quezon City.

The Navy’s community pantry was set up by the Navy Headquarters Support Group led by Navy Captain Rolando Sarmiento. It apparently drew inspiration from the initiative of Anna Patricia Non, whose community pantry became the inspiration of hundreds of community pantries that now sprouted across the country.

“The bustling ‘bayanihan’ culture of the Philippines made a wave earlier this week as hundreds of community pantries pop up in different parts of the country. The PN, in its humble way, sets up its version of community pantry complimented with essential goods to aid our ‘kababayans’ who live nearby the PN headquarters,” said Commander Benjo Negranza, chief of the Naval public affairs office.

Negranza said different naval units and stations across the country have also established their own community pantries including in Intramuros, Manila; Cavite City; El Nido, Palawan; and Cebu.

“This gesture is a manifestation of the PN’s resolve to assist the Filipino people whose lives are upended by the ongoing pandemic and fulfillment of the Navy’s mandate to serve our maritime nation,” Negranza said.

Parlade previously drew a Biblical comparison between Non’s community pantry initiative and Satan giving apple to Eve in the Garden of Eden.

“She did it alone, right? That Ana Patricia? [It’s the] same with Satan. Satan gave an apple to Eve. It started from there,” he said in a television interview on April 20.

Prior to this, the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) shared social media posts on its Facebook page allegations that communist rebels were taking advantage of the community pantry initiative to pursue their political agenda and put the government in a bad light.

Non had said in previous media interviews that the government’s apparent lack of support to the communities affected by the pandemic lockdowns inspired her to start the community pantry initiative.

From a single community pantry on a quiet street in Quezon City, Non sparked the establishment of more than 300 pantries across the country in a matter of days.

Earlier this week, the first community pantry was put up in Timor Leste, the first of such outside the Philippines.