Allow us to simply discuss the concept of what has become known as the “community pantry,” a humanitarian experiment that started quite humbly in a middle class community of residential and entrepreneurial Filipinos, and from there has grown into what some who feel threatened by its popularity fear as almost a defiant community movement.
The attendant discourse has so far settled on a conceptual battlefield, although some paranoids are threatening to take it to actual and violent trenches through the exercise of police powers.
That it is being replicated in other communities nationwide, involving a cross-section of social classes and specialized niches from the residential, business, religious and the academe all unified within such a short time, can indeed be threatening to those who advocate for division, thinking a perpetually divided nation is easier to rule.
While concerns drawn against the humanitarian initiative on the surface appear focused on health, licensing and local government coordination, the underlying fears have more to do with the exercise of control and raw power. Note how the strongest adversarial reactions arrayed against this humanitarian undertaking spawn from former and active military men and the one-dimensional paranoia of fear mongers.
Citing the Book of Genesis, one official labelled it satanic. Others, as communist recruitment centers.
The other source of fear and apprehension albeit responded to with Draconian threats, red-tagging and virtual verbal violence as the aspect of this community movement as virtual commentary not simply on the Filipino condition as it has deteriorated recently, but as a proactive response to the failures of the government in such arenas as the economy, employment, and even basic food security.
As points of reference, neither posters nor placards are needed to elucidate those conditions inflicted by the worst pandemic responses in the region. The long lines of the desperate, hungry and poor are eloquent enough, and the apparent popularity could indeed instill a good amount of apprehension for those who, even in the smallest and most cramped confines of their vacuous minds, feel alluded to and are held responsible for their failures and fiascos.
One of the tenets of powerplay, subjugation and control is to render victims helpless and vulnerable, stripped of both their humanity and dignity. The selective Draconian measures we resorted to that abuse helpless innocents in this pandemic albeit letting off VIP violators, even promoting them, is part of the exercise of power and control consistent with the veiled threats of violence coming from star-ranked sociopaths in the service.
The concept of swaps, barter trade, and non-monetary transactions inherent in community pantries guarantees that both benefactors and beneficiaries maintain their dignity and self-respect. It is antithetical to a culture that subjugates foot soldiers, so that powerless pawns are constrained to tediously move across the chessboard one square at a time and are expendable. Dignity, after all, is empowering.
For those threatened by charity, compassion and good works, this inherently humanitarian initiative is now seen as defiance where it inspires others nationwide albeit calling attention to systemic failure from incompetence. Like the smallest pebble that creates a radiating and rippling effect on still waters, hope crests amid constantly inflicted despair.