Tue. May 11th, 2021

Community pantry PH

Apr 26, 2021
The idea of community pantries is not an originally Filipino as mutual assistance in a community is as old as the Bible itself, as cited in the Acts of the Apostle. The concept of community kitchen, for instance, is Islamic. Zakat is an Islamic finance term referring to the obligation that an individual has to donate a certain proportion of wealth each year to charitable causes. Zadka or Zakat is one of the five fundamental pillars of Islam, a mandatory process for Muslims and is regarded as a form of worship. Like its genesis, our copycat is well-intentioned, but a lot of people has learned in so short a time that this cannot just be motivated by a spur of the moment altruism as others would tend to abuse it or use it for their self or may be even subversive interest. Cartoon contributed by Steven Pabalinas.

By Lt. Gen Antonio Parlade Jr.

“From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.”

Sounds familiar, right? Similar to the slogans you see in the community pantries sprouting all over the country, but no, it’s a quote from Karl Marx in his 1875 Critique of the Gotha Program. The principle refers to free access to and distribution of goods, capital and services.

A friend from the academe and another one from “UP commune” sent me that and alerted me about what Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) front organizations could be doing other than sharing food. They went further by saying: “We should act fast; we have been there and that’s how we agitate the masses.”

There is no question that sharing food is a noble one; some even decided to immediately set up one in their own communities. That’s the spirit of bayanihan in the works. At this time of the pandemic, when everyone and everything is affected, including the government and its ability to meet its tax revenue collection targets, we really should be helping each other.

But please, spare our people this crap. This is not the time for politicking. This is not the time to agitate people to hate the government.

We should encourage more people who have the capacity to help to share. And let us not scare these well-meaning donors by telling them: “Sorry, we have to stop the feeding program because the government red-tagged us.” Huh? Anong drama ‘yan? Meron pang paiyak- iyak. (What kind of drama is that? With tears to boot.)

If you are doing something good for your country and people, like feeding the poor, then you have nothing to worry about. Why even worry about the government or police asking questions or checking on your activities? That’s standard procedure for law enforcers.

We check on permits if those are required, observation of Inter-Agency Task Force protocols, modified enhanced community quarantine or general community quarantine, or why people even have to sign blank sheets, before getting their food.

The problem is when you know you are doing something else other than sharing food. Knowing now about the cunning and deceptive ways of the communist terrorists and their front organizations (or do we still deny we know it?) in pushing the masses into the armed struggle, the local executives should be on the lookout too.

Naku, Mayor, Congressman, Senator, gising na gising na ang taong bayan. Sila na mismo ang nagsasabi sa amin na suriin mabuti ang gawain ng iilan na hindi maganda ang mga hangarin. Kung gusto nyo pang manalo ulit sa election, tumulong na lang tayo sa gobyerno para maayos ang mga pantries na ito. (Oh, my, Mayor, Congressman, Senator, the people are wide awake now. It’s they who are telling us to investigate the activities of some whose intentions are bad. If you still want to win in elections, let’s just help the government to straighten out these pantries.)

What about their fliers and posters calling on people to join the Labor Day rally, or other mass actions, and those #StopKillingFarmers? Of course, that’s part of freedom of expression and of speech, and these are welcome. But who knows where this is going, especially with this pandemic that is causing much hardship to all of us? Let’s just ask the former cadres how they were encouraged to join the armed struggle. You will be surprised; some started being agitated for a bowl of hot soup in the factories and sweatshops.

Let’s also be watchful of the fund-raising of these organizations using this pandemic. Do you know about their “Panday Bulig” after Typhoon “Pablo”? And those fund-raising campaigns they did after Super Typhoon “Yolanda” hit us? They were able to accumulate millions of dollars from well-meaning individuals from the US and Europe. Where did all the money go?

On another topic, in my last article I promised to write more about peace talks and what the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER) — one of the substantive agenda of the CPP peace framework — is seeking from the government. When we finally see the demise of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), after their last anniversary on the April 24, we expect what is left of the left to settle for the next best move for them, peace talks.

Bait the government on another round of negotiations and hope to get concessions. Is it the release of more political prisoners? Yes, but no thanks. Ceasefire? Yes, but no burning of equipment, please.

There is something more that our people should understand. Peace is so appealing but at what cost?

Rep. France Castro in one interview said that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) should instead be surrendering their arms.

I read the thread of those who reacted and you can imagine how disgusted people really were. She is crazy, one said. But no, she is not. She is actually consistent with what they plan to do should peace talks push through, maybe in the next administration. If they are lucky to get somebody supportive again of the left after PRRD.

CASER actually calls for the demobilization of the military, and the retention only of the engineer brigades. Yes, they wanted the AFP to bring down their arms.

What about the NPA? Well, it will have to be retained, too, if the NDFP has to be followed, according to Article VII, Section 1. There will be no demobilization and disarmament on their part. They will be needed, maybe to implement the barangay development projects, and other infrastructure and livelihood programs the current government has lined up for them. Nice.

What about the industrial sector?

CASER is calling for the sequestration of all capitalist investment in the country. All these multinational companies in our industrial parks will be taken over by the government. That will spell economic collapse with the capital flight that would precede this.

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