By Ernie Reyes
MANILA — While they are a welcome development, the makeshift community pantries that have popped up in many parts of Metro Manila amid the continuing COVID-19 crisis may also be considered a sign of desperation, Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson said Sunday.
In a radio interview, Lacson said it is good that residents take the initiative to help each other, but added such efforts show they can no longer rely on the government for help.
“It is good that through the community pantries, we see mutual aid by neighbors and barangay residents. But this is also a sign of desperation, that people can no longer rely on the government to help them,” he said in an interview on DZBB radio.
“That said, those involved in community pantries must also remember to follow the proper health protocols to make sure they do not get infected,” he added.
In past days, community pantries were set up in parts of Metro Manila, providing free basic needs including food, rice and vegetables to those in need.
“When you realize you cannot rely solely on the government, you band together to find ways to survive,” Lacson said.
On the other hand, Lacson voiced concern that President Rodrigo Duterte’s recent claim that the government had no shortcomings in dealing with the pandemic may send the wrong signal to his subordinates.
He said that if subordinates such as Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. think they are doing no wrong, they would not make adjustments to the way they do their jobs.
“If the President says they have no shortcomings and his subordinates believe it, they will not see the need to make adjustments. But we all know the government has had many shortcomings, including the late purchase of vaccines and over-regulation of the private sector,” he said. (AI/MTVN)