If the coronavirus can be killed with kindness, Filipinos could have easily prevailed against the pandemic.

Lately, community pantries have been sprouting everywhere, inspired by initiatives along Quezon City roads, where donations have been pouring in.

Photo: SHARING. Architect Eric Ventilacion initiates a community pantry in Barangay Calumpang, Binangonan, Rizal. Just like in other areas, he invites everyone to share what they can and get just what they need. (Photo grabbed from Batang Binangonan Kami Facebook)

“The virus of generosity named Community Pantry is gaining momentum all over the country. The Filipino spirit of ‘bayanihan’ is ever alive. That compassion and generosity is a universal language that everyone understands,” Fr. Edgardo Vizcarra of the Comboni Missionaries wrote on Facebook.

He praised the pioneer of such initiative and who showed “that nobody is so poor or rich who cannot reach out and give to those who are in need of basic daily commodities such as food”.

Netizens have reported similar pantries all over the country.

Most believe that community pantries exist simply because there are good-hearted individuals who wanted to help and not because the government is not doing anything.

“Madami pa din matulungin at may malasakit lalo sa parte ng mga taong mismong apektado. Hindi naman kasi talaga kakayanin ng gobyerno lahat sa sobrang dami ng apektado ng pandemya (Many really wants to help, especially those who got affected. The government cannot do everything especially with so many people affected by this pandemic),” Chai Chai, who works in Rome, Italy, said.

“Gusto lang nila talagang tumulong. ‘Di naman nagkulang ang government. Lahat na ibinigay sa tao, eh (They only want to help. The government has already given everything to the people),” netizen Misette Regisaurelio said, adding that financial aid from the national government and food packs from the local government units have been distributed several times.

Sisters Lucia and Luzianie Silva of Iligan City also started their pantry on Sunday, with the items donated by relatives and friends gone in an hour.

Another netizen, Malia Olvido Bautista, thinks the government did not fail in helping the people and critics must stop putting political colors to the initiatives.

“Ito ang magandang attitude ng Pinoy, Matulungin sa kapwa. Walang mayaman sa ginagawa nila, ‘Ika nga, helping hand ang meron. Sana lang wag bigyan kulay. Let’s help. Proud Pilipino ako (This is one of the good attitudes of Filipinos. You do not have to be rich to lend a helping hand. Let us not taint it. Let us help instead. I am a proud Filipino),” she said.

Senator Win Gatchalian, meanwhile, said community pantries are signs that “ordinary Filipinos are ready and willing to help” the needy.

“Ito ay ang pinakamagandang simbolo ng modern-day bayanihan na lahat tayo ay may kakayahang tumulong (This is modern-day unity that shows everyone is capable of helping),” he said in a statement on April 2, 2021.

Former representative and current Technical Education and Skills Development Authority Deputy Director John Bertiz said community pantries remind him of a famous quotation by former US President John F. Kennedy.

“Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country or at least communities or fellow Filipinos. Sa panahon ngayon dapat talaga magtulungan ang bawat isa, kasi laban po natin lahat ito (In times like this, we should all help one another because this is everyone’s fight),” Bertiz said. (Marita Moaje, PNA)