TAGUIG – The appearance of community pantries during the ongoing pandemic is a show of ‘bayanihan’, says Alfonso G. Cusi, Department of Energy Secretary and Cabinet Officer for Regional Development (CORDS) for MIMAROPA. “As Filipinos, we should broaden our capacity to help each other out without bringing other people down. Likas sa ating mga Pilipino ang pagiging matulungin. Ito ang tunay na pagbabayanihan.”
Cusi also echoed Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque’s remarks today, saying that the sprouting of community pantries across the country are “a full display of what is best in us (Filipinos) during the worst of times.”
This is in response to analysts who insist that the community pantries have been caused by the government’s lack of response or insensitivity to the majority of Filipinos who continue to suffer. Cusi also notes that the President has been constantly providing direction and his full support to the cabinet in addressing the pandemic as well as the other challenges that the country is currently facing, which includes typhoons and calamities.
“We may not have the unlimited resources like the other countries, but we are managing our COVID response to the best of our abilities, and certainly, the President and this government is not deaf or blind to the cries of the people,” Cusi said.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned of a global surge in COVID cases and deaths as the world approaches its ‘highest rate of infection’. Many developed rich countries such as the United States are experiencing far worse case rates and deaths than the Philippines. Because of this, Cusi is optimistic that the administration has been doing well in its approach to beat COVID-19, as it ranked 42nd out of 170 economies in terms of vaccine rollout in the world.
The administration has also been able to significantly increase the bed capacity of quarantine and isolation facilities as well as ensure food security by providing farmers and fisherfolk with container vans converted into accessible and affordable cold storage facilities under the “Palamigan Ng Bayan” project. Apart from that, the administration has also opened up infrastructure projects under the Build-Build-Build Program, such as roads, bridges, airports, and seaports. More importantly, the administration has also ensured that despite challenges, a majority of the people are given respite through the SAP roll-out and “Ayuda sa ECQ” programs.
Cusi, who is also assigned as Cabinet Officer on COVID-19 for Rizal, has been proactively addressing the province’s needs in combating COVID-19. To date, he has distributed 500,000 face shields, antigen test kits, and food packs to the people of Rizal.
Duterte’s Kitchen, which Cusi established in 2016, continues to provide meals to the homeless, victims of fire, calamities and the pandemic in Metro Manila and the neighboring areas.
“During this time of pandemic, we should rise above petty quarrels and issues, instead we MUST focus on serving the people, and easing their suffering. This is not the time to pull each other down, spreading rumors and questioning the good faith of those who continue to work and try to help during these difficult times,” Cusi stated.