Small stands and kiosks have been springing up all over Metro Manila offering various donated goods and food that anyone can pick up for free. The only condition is that people collect only what they need. These initiatives have become the buzz in both traditional and social media which helped spread the inspiration behind them.
Unfortunately, “activists” have descended upon these otherwise non-partisan projects and quickly framed them as “evidence” of the “failure” of the incumbent government of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to manage the COVID-19 pandemic “competently”. One such “activist” is the “lawyer” Maria Sol Taule who, in a tweet, asserts that “initiatives of individuals to set up community pantries are reflections of government neglect.”
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Trust partisans, “activists”, and “thought leaders” of the Philippine Opposition to throw political shades on otherwise genuine citizens’ initiatives to contribute to the community, right?
Community pantries are not a recent innovation and certainly not unique to the Philippines. They exist even in First World countries and have been around for a long time pre-COVID-19 pandemic. In the Philippine setting, the first such community pantry regarded in the context of the recent “second wave” infection surge in Metro Manila and the ensuing lockdown imposed following this was one organised by 26-year-old Ana Patricia Non reported by GMA News Online on the 14th April.
In an interview with GMA News Online, she said that she was both inspired and “agitated” by the current lockdown situation that the country is in due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“The unemployment rate is high, the line for relief goods is long, and Pinoys are hungry,” she said in Filipino. “We have been demanding a lot, but supplies are not enough. We really need to help each other. Community effort.”
Initiatives like these will always exist where there are people in need and the idea that they are done “in protest” of something is no more than the usual dishonest spin crooked “activists” guided by their monomamic political agendas routinely kick up around these. This habitual exploitation of authentic community activities has become the standard modus operandi of serial “activist” groups led by the Yellowtards (members of the leading bloc within the Opposition loyal to the Aquino-Cojuangco clan) and the communists.
The manner with which these “activists” paint Filipinos as perennial hapless “victims” is an insult to people and communities who self-organise from the grassroots in efforts to become self reliant. Instead of framing such initiatives as ways to augment state services, these “activists” make them all about victimhood.
To the way “activists” are pointing out that community pantries are “evidence” that “socialism works”, many level-headed people are begging to disagree. One such dissenting person sums it up well, that these are just outcomes of “the generosity of the people who have excess to give away.”
Ordinary Filipinos should be given more credit and left alone by partisan interests whose rabid members presume to speak for them. Not everything is done for money and not everything is political. Perhaps the reason Filipinos are cynical about everything is because of groups like the Yellowtards and communists who always make everything all about politics. It’s time Filipinos dismiss these shills and focus on being independent thinkers — step up to be a people who are open to ideas and not mere obsolete ideology.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.