Statement from Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda on Community pantriesApril 20, 2021
By now, the die has been cast. Community pantries that have sprouted nationwide will continue to be supported by local governments and even the PNP and DILG. Government will be there to assist, ensure that health protocols are followed and that people do not crowd. The speed with which people took up the burden of making food available for the hungry when someone started setting the example is nothing short of phenomenal. And truly, it would have been to the detriment of anybody trying to stop this or give it political color had they succeeded in the clampdowns or threats. Absolutely nothing should get in the way of helping others out when they have nothing to eat.
Yes, there needs to be order, but the very essence of these community pantries is for people who are hungry not to have to resort to disorderly measures just to put food in their stomachs. Yes, there is a danger they would be disorderly but they prevent a much larger, more pernicious security threat – the desperately hungry. No civilized nation should allow any of its citizens to go hungry and when it happens, it is the duty of everyone, not just the State, to step up. The right to life, ensconced in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and our own Constitution, is the most basic of rights and when citizens take up the duty to uphold and respect it, it should be celebrated and copied, as it was multiple times across the country.
The lesson which we are glad all those attempting to mess with this outpouring of goodwill is this: You can’t kill kindness. No matter how much fear you put in the hearts of people who are merely trying to create a just society, kindness will thrive and the only way forward is to join in.