This year, we’re not back to square one—we’re in a more terrible situation. According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, preliminary results of its Labor Force Survey in Jan. 2021 showed the unemployment rate rocketing from 5.3 percent in 2020 to 8.7 percent this year—with jobless Filipinos now standing at four million.
This is just one of the many consequences of our country’s poor pandemic response. Unfortunately, in times of slow ayuda distribution and vaccine line-jumpers, all we have is each other. Even ordinary citizens have started donation drives and initiatives like this cart of free essential goods in Diliman, Quezon City.
‘GIVE WHAT YOU CAN AND TAKE WHAT YOU NEED.’
LOOK: A small business owner in Diliman, Quezon City set up a shared pantry in hopes of helping her community power through tough times amid the worsening COVID-19 pandemic. | @denverINQ pic.twitter.com/feT3h5lJVe
— Inquirer (@inquirerdotnet) April 14, 2021
“The unemployment rate is high, the line for relief goods is long and Pinoys are hungry,” said 26-year-old Ana Patricia Non in an interview with GMA News. “We have been demanding a lot, but supplies are not enough. We really need to help each other.”
Dubbed the “Maginhawa Community Pantry,” this shared bamboo counter initiated by Non is filled with food (rice, vegetables, canned goods, milk, soup ingredients, etc.), vitamins and protective gear (masks and hand sanitizer) that are free for all. “Magbigay ayon sa kakayahan. Kumuha batay sa pangangailangan,” says the cardboard sign hanging atop the mini station.
(Give what you can. Take what you need.)
Many have applauded the initiative, which had already helped folks in the community—from street sweepers to the homeless. As a result of this act of goodwill, virtual onlookers have been asking how to participate.
A tweet by journalist Anjo Bagaoisan reveals how we can contribute to Non’s humble initiative. “She’s also hoping others could pioneer similar community pantry efforts in their own communities.”
For those interested in pitching in for the Maginhawa “pan-tree”, here are some details from Ana Patricia Non (tl;dr: In-kind preferred, but there’s GCash).
— Anjo Bagaoisan (@anjo_bagaoisan) April 15, 2021
For in-kind donations, goods can be dropped off at 96 Maginhawa, Diliman, Quezon City, in front of Romantic Baboy and Cinema Centenario.
For monetary aid, send to Non’s GCash account: 0945 145 4390 – Ann Patricia Non.
We learned about this project the same week as we found out that Manila Bay’s “white beach” received another dose of dolomite. Previously, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque defended the activity by explaining that this will benefit our mental health. Instances like this really make you think about our officials’ priority.
What our countrymen need right now is immediate concrete action. Nothing will change if we’re just going to recycle last year’s band-aid solutions. The Maginhawa Community Pantry is inspiring, but know that we continue to hold our leaders accountable. If anything, ensuring everyone’s livelihood and safety is the government’s job. If the poor and the working class are reliable and generous enough to share resources, what does that say about those in power?
Art by Yel Sayo