Notable business groups such as the Federation of Filipino Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. (FFCCCII) and the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) commended the Bayanihan spirit behind the community pantries that provide food to those in need in the middle of a pandemic.
In an interview, FFCCCII president Henry Lim Bon Liong stated that the rise of community pantries is a manifestation of voluntarism, which in the Philippines is best expressed in the traditional Bayanihan of a community helping others.
“This pandemic is a global crisis and I believe all of us should do our share to cooperate and to help based on our capabilities whether big or small. It should not only be the government which needs to solve our problems but all of us also should unite and do our share to assist,” Lim said.
MAP National Issues Committee chairperson Riza Mantaring also expressed that community pantries are very laudable initiatives, noting that as an organization, MAP has also been helping alleviate the problems brought about by the pandemic by contributing to initiatives such as Project Ugnayan that distribute food vouchers and other initiatives to address hunger. It also provides personal protective equipment for healthcare workers.
FFCCCII’s Lim shared that the business community has been ushering its fair share in providing assistance to communities, as since March 2020 the group has donated P300-million worth of anti-Covid 19 medical supplies and free rice packs nationwide under a coalition of different groups called the “Filipino Chinese Community Calamity Fund,” with FFCCCII as the lead group.
Lim noted that its diverse donors include many micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) members.
“Philanthropy in time of crisis is an expression of solidarity with the less fortunate members of our society and a manifestation of support for our national leaders. In a crisis, we need to unite, so that the Philippines can have faster public health and economic recovery,” Lim reiterated.
Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go also lauded the community pantries but said no politics should taint the initiative.
Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesperson Brig. Gen. Ronaldo Olay, however, warned that police have been deployed in these community pantries to ensure order. The PNP was earlier accused of harassing the pantries by red-baiting the organizers.