COVID-19 patients build community pantry at New Clark City facility

The 45-year-old “Jericho,” a now quarantined at the New Clark City facility, is said to be often anxious and unable to sleep.

According to “Jericho,” his brain seemed to be tortured while in quarantine because he was alone and had no one to talk to, and was also thinking of problems.

To alleviate the feelings of “Jericho” and others like him, some COVID-19 patients built their own community pantry in the New Clark City isolation facility.

It is inspired by the initiative that started in Maginhawa Street, Quezon City, where people can donate food and other basic commodities, which can be picked up by the needy.

In the pantry, COVID-19 patients donate biscuits, bread, fruit, juice soft drinks, and more.

“Napakalaking tulong na may co-positive kami na willing tumulong despite our situation,” said “Clarisse,” who is also isolated in New Clark City.

“One thing I’ve learned noong napunta ako dito [is] to expand the goodness in the season of darkness,” she said.

Hundreds of community pantries have sprung up in various parts of the country, proof of the bayanihan of the Filipinos.

But critics of the government also insisted that community pantries reflect the government’s inability to respond to the country’s worsening hunger situation now that there is a pandemic.

Senators slam NTF-ELCAC over alleged red-tagging of community pantry organizers

Meanwhile, Senator Joel  and two other senators expressed their disappointment on the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) after the agency allegedly red-tagged community pantry organizers.

Villanueva tweeted his dismay over NTF-ELCAC spokesperson Lieutenant General Antonio Parlade Jr.’s who compared a community pantry to Satan. The senator also proposed to defund NTF-ELCAC.

“Oh my! We should move to defund NTF-ELCAC in the next budget. Sayang lang pera ng taong bayan,” Villanueva said.

“Reallocate the current P19 [billion] budget for ayuda. Mas kailangan ito ng taumbayan kaysa sa mga ganitong kalokohan!” he added.

However, Senate President Vicente Sotto III did not support the proposal of his fellow senators but suggested replacing NTF-ELCAC’s officials instead.

“I believe the program is good. Defunding it would give back the gains of [government] to the ,” Sotto said in a message to reporters.

“We should not be hasty in blaming a good program because of irresponsible statements from some officials. Replace the officials instead,” he added.