People's Domain

RIGHT TURN FOR ILOILO: Community pantry to flourish here

Right turn for Iloilo
See the Pantry Effect

RIGHT TURN FOR ILOILO: Community pantry to flourish in this part of the country! 

Iloilo City Mayor Jerry P. Treñas has declared: “I fully support all organizers of community pantries. You do not need my permission to help your fellow Ilonggos.”

The declaration of the city’s chief executive was posted on his Facebook timeline April 20, 2021 and his message interpreted as deplete of politicking earned a combined 2.3k reactions of love, care, and likes.

The message of Mayor Treñas got a signal of popular approval, especially among Ilonggos for it took an opposite turn from the unpopular action of police authorities in Quezon City after Ana Patricia Non, the noble person who started the Maginhawa Teacher’s Village community pantry was red-tagged by the Quezon City  Police District and the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).

The allegation was outrightly denied by Ana Patricia Non in a virtual press conference also held April 20. 

Iloilo City = City of Love

In Iloilo City, however, community pantry was encouraged by Mayor Treñas. 

“To clarify the matter of community pantries in Iloilo City, as the duly elected city mayor of our beloved city, I am encouraging all organizers. Let us show our Bayanihan spirit in helping one another,” the chief executive declared, dispelling fears and anxiety among those who initially organized community pantry earlier this week to help fellow Ilonggos who are in distress because of the ongoing pandemic.

“Basta mga Ilonggo mabinuligon guid,” introed by Mayor Treñas in his post which he entitled: “The Pantry Effect”. 

Right turn for Iloilo
Buligay Community Pantry in Brgy. Mansaya, Lapuz, Iloilo City.

A positive comment by a female captured said, “Iloilo City = City of Love” – a mantra engraved in the hearts and minds of Ilonggos who are scattered in different places across the archipelago and abroad. 

Some commended the Mayor by saying, “you’re correct Mayor, why a permit is needed to help others.” 

“Amo ina dapat ang mga Mayor’s. Mag support sang mga initiative sang mga pululuyo indi kay I redtag ang naga bulig. If all Mayor’s come out in the open and show their support and permission more people will be encouraged to help,” a comment by Grace Blair, in Hiligaynon and English.

There were some who professed that they do not normally make a comment regarding popular issues, yet they took an exception to commend the mayor for making a clear stand on the matter.

By far, the post have gathered 53 positive comments and 503 shares at 9:00 P.M. 

Sharing is simply second nature among Ilonggos 

Earlier this week, two youth leaders in Iloilo City first posted the Buligay Community Pantry effort in Brgy. Mansaya, Lapuz. 

Carmela Francesca Adelantar and Allen Dave Evidente got an inspirational cue from the Maginhawa Community Pantry of Ana Patricia Non who went viral over social media. They organized a similar effort over the weekend by tapping the support of family, friends, and youth organizations for food and health items. 

What was a random and spontaneous noble gesture by the two youth leaders surprised the residents of Barangay Mansaya after they set-up the community pantry together with Sangguniang Kabataan and Barangay Officials.

Read: Buligay Community Pantry initiated by 2 youth leaders

“What Ana Patricia Non initiated must be replicated by fellow Filipinos for a community pantry effort renews the value of giving despite the differing status of people in society. It also rejuvenates trust and it gives our people a sense of hope,” they said. 

Surprisingly, the appeal had already been embraced by many Ilonggos who did not initially post on social media their respective community pantry effort only to see posts that it has started to catch fever and were now ongoing in various communities across the city.

About the same time Monday morning, journalist Tara Yap shared a photo of a well-meaning Ilonggo named Florencio Yap who set-up a community pantry in Alta Tierra Village in Jaro, in front of the National Food Authority, to mark his 68th birthday.

Right turn for Iloilo
Making a right turn for Iloilo. No lavish celebration for this well-meaning Ilonggo. Florencio Yap spent his 68th birthday with a community pantry in Alta Tierra Village in Jaro.

These acts of kindness are natural for Florencio Yap for he has always extended help and ways possible to uplift the lives of fellow Ilonggos who are in need, especially during periods of crisis.

“He is used to the bayanihan culture,” he said in an interview by Aksyon Radyo Iloilo.

Yap’s Alta Tierra community pantry credited inspiration from Maginhawa Community Pantry in Quezon City. 

What followed were photos of a community pantry in Rizal, La Paz and another one in La Paz Plaza. 

Within the day, donations from Ilonggos flowed in to various community pantry venues. 

Ilonggo chef and popular restauranteur Mary Pauline Gorriceta-Banusing shared photos of ongoing community pantry in La Paz Plaza with volunteers composed of young professionals and with children assisting distribution of items.

Local uniformed police personnel where assisting fellow Ilonggos set-up the distribution as showed by the photos.  

“I am not a communist but rather, I am for the community,” underscored Banusing in her Facebook timeline as she expressed thanks to those who supported the community pantry in La Paz by sending goods through her for the venue. 

Buligay is a right turn for Iloilo; it’s a recipe behind Ilonggo resiliency 

Kindness was brought to the spotlight by the Ilonggo people at the height of the pandemic lockdown in 2020. 

The Filipino trait of bayanihan comes in the form of buligay (mutual help and support) among Ilonggos despite belonging to different classes in society. 

The act of kindness by Ilonggos has allowed the local government to roll out 240 community kitchens and which has provided around 1.9 million meals to families who were on lockdown. 

From March 21 to June 15, 2020, the Uswag Community Kitchens fed an estimated 30,000 families per day.

Ilonggo owned bakeries and milling firms produced an estimated of 1.7 million of Ilonggo Pandesal  and which were delivered daily to 180 barangays from April to May 2020.

In addition, it also launched 5 kitchens to provide food for frontliners. Around 92, 729 lunch and dinner meals were produced during those difficult periods. 

Ilonggo artists shared their artworks to raise additional funds for health equipment and facilities while Ilonggo seamstress and tailors produced some 300,000 facemasks to augment shortage of supply. 

Kindness or ang pagbuligay is the recipe behind the Ilonggo resiliency. 

Indeed, “Basta mga Ilonggo mabinuligon guid”.

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