Tagbilaran City has caught the community pantry “virus” with both the Catholic Church and government in the city expressing support for the sprouting makeshift pantries.
The community pantry which started in Maginhawa Street in Quezon City has been lauded for being a “good virus” that has spread across the country reaching even the Visayas and Mindanao.
The idea behind the initiative is to allow people to give and take what they need from the community pantry which offers essential goods such as food and hygiene products.
Bishop Abet Uy of the Diocese of Tagbilaran City on Monday announced the establishment of the Bohol Community Pantry which is being organized by young entrepreneurs and the diocese.
One of its organizers, John Paul Lim said the pantry will open officially on Thursday outside the St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Tagbilaran City.
“Everyone is also welcome to share their blessings, like vegetables, fruits, dry goods, and hygiene products. Cash donations will also be accepted and will be used to buy produce from local farmers,” Lim said.
“We only ask one general rule, “just get what you need, and not what you want,” he added.
Tagbilaran City Mayor Baba Yap also expressed support for the initiative with his wife Jane offering to deploy the city’s “Gugma Mobile Kitchen” at the pantry’s site.
“Our volunteers can cook hot meals for anybody who wants. Lugaw and Egg Noodle Soup. Walay pili pili hangtod ma hurot ag food,” Jane said.
Tuslob Buwa, a restaurant with two branches in Tagbilaran City, also launched its community pantry dubbed Tuslob Buwa De Bohol and Friends Community Pantry.
Susan Cacayan, manager of Tuslob Buwa Gallares, said they have been operating their community pantry since Sunday and patterned it from the ones that have been popping up in Metro Manila.
According to Cayacan, social distancing is strictly imposed in their pantry which has been drawing long queues from the public.
“Happy ka na makita nimo na makatabang ka sa taw na kinahanglan jud og tabang,” said Cayacan.
Other pantries have also been spotted near the Land Transportation Office in the city, Barangay Booy, Panglao and in Talibon.
Some have praised the community pantries for having started a domino effect of the Filipinos’ renowned “bayanihan spirit” but others have attributed the spread of the pantries to the incompetence of the national government.
Senator Panfilo Lacson, in a tweet, said the community food pantry “is an inspiration born out of desperation.”
“It is a selfless act of people, unwitting they may be, are telling government to do better,” Lacson said.
Meanwhile, Former Vice President Jejomar Binay said the community pantries aired a “simple” message which is that “when government is absent, we can look after each other.”
“This is also a sign that the government needs to #StepUp. Hindi pwedeng at hindi kayang saluhin ng taumbayan ang gobyerno forever,” said opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros.
Malacañang downplayed the allegations.
“We disagree,” said Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque.
“Tingin natin itong mga community pantry nagpapakita na bayanihan ang umiiral, hindi bangayan,” he added. (with a report from A. Doydora)