MAGINHAWA, QUEZON CITY – Vice-presidential aspirant Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan on Sunday night assured attendees of the #LENIwanagsaDILIMAN campaign rally that under a Robredo-Pangilinan administration, the idea of a community pantry will be adopted to address hunger.
“Iyong community pantry i-aadopt ng Leni-Kiko tandem para maging isang source ng pagkain lalo ng ating mga kababayang ginugutom,” Pangilinan said during his speech.
Led by Patreng Non, the community pantry movement, carrying the slogan “kumuha batay sa pangangailangan, magbigay ayon sa kakayanan”, was born here in April 2021 during the second lockdown.
But Non’s initiative received backlash, most of which came from the administration and its paid attack dogs, saying the movement is an initiative of the Communist Party of the Philippines.
Right after, Pangilinan released a support statement for the community pantry, underscoring its big help in combating hunger in the absence of government aid.
For Pangilinan, the accusations are baseless, and instead of red-tagging the entire movement, the government should have thanked the initiative from private individuals and offered help.
“Dito sa Maginhawa nag-umpisa ang community pantry. Sa halip na i-redtag iyong community pantry, dapat suportahan ng gobyerno ang community pantry. Hindi dapat nireredtag ang community pantry, dapat sinusuportahan ng lubos ng gobyerno,” he said.
The idea of the community pantries resembles Pangilinan’s campaign slogan of “Hello Pagkain! Goodbye Gutom!” and his goal of eradicating hunger and achieving a food-secure Philippines. He believes that food security can only be attained by supporting farmers and fisherfolks.
“Bakit mahal ang pagkain? Dahil kaunti ang supply ng pagkain. Bakit kulang ang supply ng pagkain? Dahil kulang ang suporta sa magsasaka’t mangingisda. Kapag sinuportahan sila nang buo, nang hindi binubulsa ang pondo ng agrikultura, dadami ang ani, dadami ang karneng baboy at baka, dadami ang gulay, bigas,” he said.
“Kapag marami na ang supply ng pagkain, bababa na ang presyo ng pagkain. Lahat tayo makikinabang. At kapag ang taumbayan ay hindi na kumakalam ang sikmura, ayon pupwede nang mangarap. Mahirap mangarap kapag gutom,” he added.
The fate of the country lies in how the country will cast their votes in May, Pangilinan said, noting that so much is at stake. This is why he urged Robredo-Pangilinan supporters to go all out ahead of May 9.
“Mayroong pa tayong 13 days. Huwag nating sasayangin. Kaya pa ba nating mag house-to-house? Kaya pa ba natin kumbinsihin ang marami pa sa ating mga kababayan? Tuwing tayo’y sumasakay ng tricycle, pedicab, taxi, bus, pwede bang kausapin natin iyong driver, iyong katabi natin? Kumbinsihin natin na manindigan na at tumaya at iluklok ang gobyernong tapat,” Pangilinan challenging the attendees.
“Ang pinakamagaling na mangkumbinsi hindi iyong tarpaulin, hindi polyeto, hindi poster. Ang pinakamahusay na makapagkumbinsi ay iyong tao sa tao. Iyan ang gagamitin natin sa susunod na mga araw,” he added.
Before capping off the event, Pangilinan along with his three brothers serenaded the crowd with their childhood jamming song entitled “Sa ilalim ng puno ng Saging.”
Pangilinan’s other siblings were also present during the campaign rally, a first since the campaign trail started. According to the vice-presidential candidate, the event venue brings back so many childhood memories as they were residents here for 16 years.