President Duterte wants Filipinos to think twice before lining up to community pantries, comparing it to a “wholesale” where one can get food items along with the coronavirus that has infected more than a million people since last year.
Although he did not directly refer to the community pantry, the President talked against activities that attract a mob of people for food aid.
“Mahirap kasi ‘yang hindi tayo magkaintindihan na may mga isyu tapos batikos sabihin itong gobyerno na ito pinipigil nila binibigay na nga. Binibigay na nga, binibigay rin sa inyo ‘yong sakit, dalhin mo doon sa bahay mo. Eh kung matamaan kayo ‘di wholesale (It’s difficult to have a misunderstanding on these issues then you will criticize the government that it is hindering people from giving. They’re already giving, they’re also giving you the virus so you can take it home. If you get it, then it’s wholesale),” Duterte said during a prerecorded address to the nation on Monday night.
The Chief Executive touted that the government already provided P5,000 in cash aid despite not having the funds for it.
“Pero wala akong pera at hindi naman ninyo masisi ang gobyerno. You know, just to ipakita sa inyo na ang gobyerno may kakaunti lang nga pero ang gobyerno may ginagawa. Ikumpara mo diyan sa makipag-rambol ka diyan tapos dalhin mo ‘yong sakit mo sa — iwasan niyo (I don’t have money and you cannot blame the government. You know, just to show you that the government is doing something even if it doesn’t have the means. Compare it to those where you will rumble and bring the illness to — avoid it).”
The government, through the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), is only providing P1,000 cash aid per individual or a maximum of P4,000 per household.
Duterte said he was not against Filipinos helping each other, but emphasized the need to coordinate with barangay officials to distribute the aid.
“Bakit hindi ninyo i-marshal ‘yong efforts nila (barangay workers) tapos sila ang mag-deliver at a distance? Hindi man kailangan lumapit. Ilagay mo lang doon sa table or doon sa fence or what, sa hagdanan. Iyon ang sinasabi ng gobyerno (Why don’t you marshal their efforts and then they can deliver at a distance? People don’t need to come near. You can put it on a table or fence or stairs. That’s what the government is saying),” he added.
The President explained to the “educated” that what the government is trying to avoid is “convergence” of people, noting how they were “swarming.”
He said people will stand close to each other in a crowd, speaking and transmitting the virus. They will then come home to their families, spreading the virus further.
“Tapos kung magkasakit, hindi man kayo ang pupunta-puntahan doon na maghingi ng tulong. Magpunta ‘yan sa gobyerno. Problema ng gobyerno ‘yan (When they get sick, they are not going to you to ask for help. They will ask help from the government. That’s the government’s problem),” Duterte added.
The President insisted his words were not meant to be an insult, even admitting that people behind these activities might not be aware of the consequences of their actions.
“The fact na ginawa ninyo, hindi ninyo alam ang (you did it, you don’t know the) consequences. But it has something to do with just common sense. Hindi ninyo alam ‘yan na nagdudumugan ‘yong tao. Iyan ang mahirap tapos ang gobyerno ang masama (You didn’t know that people are going to mob it. That’s what’s difficult and then, the government is the bad guy),” he said.
The community pantry, with its give-what-you-can and take-what-you-need approach, started amid the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) imposed in the National Capital Region Plus (NCR Plus) in early April.
Organized by Ana Patricia Non in Maginhawa Street in Diliman, Quezon City, it has sprouted to hundreds across Metro Manila and to as far as Visayas and Mindanao.