The Catholic lay group Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas (LAIKO) has expressed its support for the mushrooming “community pantries” in the country amid the coronavirus pandemic.
In a statement, the group said the movement to help people who are most in need “is unprecedented and unequaled during this crucial time of the pandemic.”
“We also give our recognition to everyone who boldly initiated actions in selfless service right from the start of this pandemic,” said the group on Tuesday, April 27.
“From a single mustard seed, it grew and now the fruits benefit everyone,” read the group’s statement, adding that it is urging its members to support the initiative.
Rouquel Ponte, president of the organization, said that with the initiative, “people with lesser opportunities can somehow hope to survive even for a day.”
“Undoubtedly, God is inspiring their hearts to ‘give us this day our daily bread,’” he said, quoting the Gospel.
Ponte, however, warned against “forces who plan to divide and thwart whatever gains there is to be reaped” from the community initiatives.
On Tuesday, authorities warned of the possibility of closing down “community pantries” that do not follow health and safety protocols.
Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said there should always be closer coordination between the organizers and the local government units to implement health standards.
“If health standards are not followed or there are violations pertaining to such, this is a ground to stop the community pantry,” he said in an advisory.
Meanwhile, the organizer of the first “community pantry” in Quezon City in the capital, Ana Patricia Non, announced that her “pantry” will now only serve as a drop-off center for donations.
She said the Maginhawa “community pantry” will now decentralized so that more people can have access to goods, especially the elderly and those with disabilities.
Non came up with a “community pantry” to help those who have difficult access to food and other basic needs during the lockdown.
Since then, several communities set up their own pantries to extend help to those most in need.