MANILA – Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte on Thursday assured that the local government is only supporting “colorless and apolitical” community pantries.
She said pantries that are fronts for vested interests and political agendas are unwelcome as they “can jeopardize the integrity of the majority of our community pantries that are put up for purely humanitarian objectives.”
“The community pantries we are supporting are colorless, apolitical, and put up informally and spontaneously by individuals or volunteer groups with pure intentions to help ensure food security for the hungry,” Belmonte said in a text message to the Philippine News Agency.
One such initiative is the Tulong Obrero community pantry on Narra Street in Project 3 that was reported to be distributing anti-government leaflets.
It opens at 4 p.m., with people lining up as early as two hours before for free goods that include fresh vegetables, alcohol, masks, and face shields.
Organizers, however, distribute leaflets and reading materials calling for the ouster of President Rodrigo Duterte and inviting people to join their May 1 (Labor Day) protest to be held in Manila.
The pantry recipients also sign a petition for PHP10,000 monthly financial aid for each family.
Kilusang Mayo Uno secretary general Jerome Adonis, in earlier interviews, said signing the petition is voluntary while the leaflets are to inform about the shortcomings of the government.
Earlier, the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) warned the public that some left-leaning organizations are riding on the popularity and imitating the concept of the community pantry to advance their ideologies.
The President, through Spokesperson Harry Roque, already said that unless the “concern is about health protocols not being observed, they should leave these community pantries alone.”
Presidential Communications Operations Office Undersecretary Lorraine Marie Badoy also appealed to the communist terrorist groups and their legal front organizations to stop helping struggling families making them believe that the government is not doing anything to help them.
“Kung pagbigay ng pagkain lang ang tunay na pakay nyo, bakit may kailangang pang dugtong na patalsikin ang isang Pangulong nahalal ng marapat at matuwid at ayon sa ating Saligang Batas na suportado at pinagkakatiwalaan ng nakararami sa atin (If your only intention is to distribute food, why do you have to call for the President’s ouster even if he is elected under the Constitution and supported and trusted by the majority)?” she said in a statement.
She added the NTF-ELCAC is happy that community pantries have sprouted nationwide, similar to the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Kapwa Ko, Sagot Ko program initiated last year at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. (PNA)