A community pantry organizer recalled the strong accusations Rep. Jesus Crispin “Boying” Remulla of Cavite lodged against the initiative and its volunteers following his new Cabinet membership.
Remulla has just accepted the offer to lead the justice department for the presumptive Marcos administration.
Some Filipinos online expressed alarm over the appointment due to his history of associating activists and groups with the communist rebellion despite having no basis for it.
One of them is Ana Patricia Non or Patreng Non, the woman behind the community pantry movement, who shared how uncomfortable she felt with Remulla’s new role.
“Very uncomfortable na si Rep. Boying Remulla na ang DOJ Sec. Di ko malilimutan yung mga accusation nya sa Community Pantry PH noong nakaraan taon sa Congress,” Non said.
She also attached old social media cards with Remulla’s allegations against the initiative during the House hearing on the emergence of community pantries in the country in May 2021.
In one of them, the lawmaker alleged that community pantries have a political agenda because they were being “publicized.”
Remulla did not mention any names in his previous statement.
“Ang pag-publicize sa pagtulong sa tao ay hindi magandang Gawain kasi nagkakaron na ng agenda na kakaiba sa totoong spirit ng bayanihan,” he was quoted as saying in a report before.
“Kapat nagkaroon ng political agenda ang pagtulong sa tao, kapag nagkaroon ng pasikat, kailangan ipinapaalam natin sa lahat na tayo po’y gumagawa ng kabutihan, ay parang di na tayo gumawa ng kabutihan,” he added.
Non addressed this particular comment on her post. She pointed out that the purpose of posting community pantries online is to inform the public about their locations.
“Ang sama sa loob na akusahan tayong mga pantry organizers na nagpapasikat dahil may posts tayo. Di man lang inisip na eto yung nag-iinform sa public kung saan may existing pantries para madaling puntahan ng mga nangangailan at donors,” she said.
“Movement ng love at kindness sa buong bansa pero pinag-iisipan ng masama yung mga nagtutulungan. Di ko alam kung anong justice system ang magkakaroon tayo,” she added.
Starting from a food stall along Maginhawa Street in Quezon City, the community pantry sparked hundreds of similar programs and stalls in different parts of the country.
They were seen as a great help in filling in the gaps of the government’s COVID-19 pandemic response.
However, despite their volunteer-driven nature, some government officials alleged that they have ties to the New People’s Army despite having no proofs of it.
Last May, US Embassy in the Philippines Chargé d’Affaires ad interim Heather Variava awarded Non the Ambassador’s Woman of Courage Award for her work.
Variava noted that Non inspired “Filipinos to combine resources and help one another during the COVID-19 pandemic.”