Senator Christopher “Bong” Go on Thursday urged organizers of community-based and private sector-driven initiatives such as community pantries to remain focused on their objective of helping those in need in the spirit of ‘’bayanihan’’ (community spirit).
Go, chairman of the Senate health and demography committee, warned them that certain groups might be taking advantage of the benevolent efforts of community pantry organizers, saying that such groups have their own vested interests or political agenda to pursue.
“Maganda na inisyatibo ang community pantry (The initiative of putting up community pantries is good).Pwede naman ito gawin nang tahimik, wala nang propaganda (It could be done in a silent manner, no propaganda). Huwag na po [sanang] sakyan ng kung anu-anong organisasyon (We hope that whatever organization should not take advantage of the community pantries). Maganda ang layunin nung una, nung pumasok na ang iba’t ibang grupo ay pinasukan na ng propaganda at doon nagkagulo (The entry of many groups and propaganda muddled the good intentions of organizers), Go said.
“Maganda ang inisyatibo (The initiative is good). Huwag niyo lang haluan ng pulitika o iba’t ibang grupo na [gagamitin ito bilang] propaganda para sa kanilang interes (Just don’t mix politics or allow other groups for their propaganda),” he cautioned.
Go, who serves as vice-chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, once more called on government to intensify its ongoing efforts to help Filipinos struggling with food insecurity and joblessness.
He earlier issued an appeal urging the Executive branch to initiate the Supplemental Amelioration Program for the low-income residents in National Capital Region Plus areas.
Go noted that while government is doing its best to help those in need, a whole-of-nation approach is necessary to overcome these trying times.
He further encouraged those with the means to continue to contribute their resources and help others in their community.
“Sa totoo lang, sobra-sobra ang pagkain sa iba. Tingnan niyo ang bakuran ninyo, ang mga cabinet ninyo. Minsan na-eexpire ang mga delata. Ibigay niyo na lang. Kung kulang ang pagkain ninyo, kumuha kayo sa community pantry,” said the Senator.
The senator from Davao even urged government workers, particularly those from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police )PNP) under the leadership of National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzena and Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, respectively, to support community pantries in their respective neighborhoods and ensure that these are conducted in a safe and orderly manner.
He reminded the public to strictly adhere to necessary health and safety protocols to avoid the further spread of COVID-19 in their communities.
“We have to follow the health protocols. Mas malaki ang problema natin kapag nagkahawaan diyan (The problem goes bigger when there are infectrions). That is why I am encouraging local government units and the police to enforce law and order sa lugar kung saan inilalagay ang (in places where) community pantry (are put up). Tumulong kayo na ‘di ma-violate ang health protocols (You should help that health [protocols are not violated),” Go said.
Go earlier stressed the importance of cooperating with authorities and abiding by the necessary health and safety protocols in order to ensure that the goals of such activities are met while the rights and welfare of the general population are equally protected.