MANILA, Apr 19 (Mabuhay) — While he lauded the initiative, Senator Panfilo Lacson on Sunday said the establishment of “community pantries” in several areas in the country may be considered a sign of “desperation” among the public amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lacson said that although it was good that neighbors took the initiative to help each other, it shows that the people can no longer rely on the government for help.

“Mabuti rin yung nagkaroon ng community pantry, may mutual aid yung magkakapitbahay, magkakabarangay. Pero ito na yung sign ng desperation ng mga tao na hindi sila maka-rely sa gobyerno,” he said.

Initially beginning in Maginhawa Street in Quezon City, community pantries have popped up in many areas in Metro Manila and even in other provinces where neighbors can find basic commodities and even medicines and take them for free.

Items in the community panty are then restocked by other members of the community in observance of the “bayanihan” spirit.

“Kapag hindi na natin maasahan yung gobyerno, magkanya-kanya na tayo pero mag-band tayo together, na magkaisa na magsagawa ng sarili nating pamamaraan kasi survival na ito,” Lacson said.

Lacson expressed concern, however, over President Rodrigo Duterte’s claim that the government had no shortcomings in dealing with the pandemic.

He said that if the persons concerned in pandemic response, such as Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr., took this claim seriously, they would no longer bother to address the problem.

“Sa akin ang dating nun napaka-ominous nun. Kasi kapag sinabi mismo ng Presidente na walang pagkukulang ang ating pamahalaan, at ito pinaniwalaan ng mga in-charge, sina Sec. Duque, Sec. Galvez, lahat ng in-charge sa pagtugon sa pandemic, wala silang babaguhin,” he said. (MNS)

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