Senator Grace Poe on Monday filed a resolution commending Ana Patricia "Patreng" Non and community pantry volunteers for "igniting the true bayanihan spirit" among Filipinos during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In Senate Resolution 714, Poe hailed the community pantry movement originated by Non for providing free food and other essential items to Filipinos in need during the health crisis.
From a small bamboo cart parked beside a tree in Maginhawa Street in Quezon City, community pantries have now spread nationwide, urging the public to "give what you can, take what you need."
"The proliferation of community pantries all over the country is proof that the Filipino bayanihan spirit is alive and many Filipinos remain willing to help despite experiencing hardships themselves," Poe said in her resolution.
"This spirited moment of selflessness amid the pandemic must be encouraged and aided by the government to ensure the implementation of health and safety protocols instead of closing it down or subjecting it to red-tagging," she added.
Last month, Non had to pause the distribution of free items at the Maginhawa Community Pantry for one day, citing red-tagging or social media posts linking the movement to the communist rebellion.
Non said she only wanted to help Filipinos who are burdened by lockdown protocols.
"Last thing na kailangan ko explain sa mga tao is kung ano ako, sino ba ako, kasi ang malinaw ang intensyon ko -- gusto ko lang naman magsetup ng community pantry at makakain yung mga tao, pantawid gutom," she said.
The Maginhawa Community Pantry has since become a drop-off point for donations that will be delivered to different barangays in Diliman, Quezon City to make the distribution of goods faster.
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