Sunday, December 05, 2021

Espinoza: Community pantry not communist party

Free Zone

I THOUGHT that it was a joke when I first heard the news that the Quezon City police and the National Task Force to End the Local Communist Insurgency (NTF-Elcac) red-tagged the community pantry that Ana Patricia Non started in Maginhawa Street, Quezon City. Non had to stop temporarily her community work to avoid the red-tagging. The police probably misread the community pantry sign as "communist party" (lol).

The matter was made worse when NTF-Elcac spokesman Army Lieutenant General Antonio Parlade Jr. called the senators stupid as he lamented the plan of some senators to defund the NTF-Elcac. The Senate approved the P19-billion budget for the task force this year and the P16 billion is budgeted for development projects for the 800 villages in the country that were freed of the influence by the communist rebels.

The move of some senators to defund the NTF-Elcac funding was triggered by the red-tagging of the community pantries and in calling the senators stupid. But Parlade said the military support the community pantries but they have to be watchful as some are exploiting the situation to sow anger against the government. And, does Parlade think that the inability of this government to provide to those in dire need due to this Covid-19 pandemic is happy?

"Do they want to remove that [budget] or did they not understand the law they signed? So I think that's unfair what these senators are saying ... and I'm telling you they are the ones who are stupid if they want to take back the funds," he said. "They signed off on that law to be of service, continue government programs for the poor, and then they'll defund it?" said Parlade. (@inquirerdotnet, April 23, 2021)

Senate Minority Floor Leader Franklin Drilon will file a resolution to censure NTF-Elcac spokesman Parlade for tagging the senators stupid. In an interview by radio DWIZ on Saturday, April 24, Drilon said "that it's alright for Parlade to disagree with the Senate but his language was "disrespectful and uncalled for." On Monday, Parlade apologized.

In this time of deprivation, helping others who are in deep need is a blessing and that's not an act to spread hatred against the present administration. The community pantry movement started by Non should even be encouraged and praised because this demonstrates the true spirit of "Bayanihan" as what we've learned in school.

Parlade received flak in suggesting that Non, a small business owner, was like Satan. "You know, that is only one person, isn't it? Ana Patricia, isn't it? Same with Satan. Satan gave the apple to Eve. That is how it started," he said in an interview with OneNews on Tuesday. He blamed the media for misinterpreting what he said of Non. He's got the gag order.

May I remind Lieutenant General Parlade not to red-tag the plan of the Cebu Provincial Government to buy the excess supply of cabbage from the farmers of Dalaguete, Cebu's "Vegetable Basket" and distribute them to charities, district and provincial hospitals, religious organizations, jail facilities, police offices and others because he would be in trouble with our Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia. Capitol will tap the community pantry as venue in distributing food and vegetables to those in need.

There is a sharp decline in the demand of cabbage due to Covid-19 pandemic, hence, the oversupply. Last year, Capitol bought 35,000 kilos of excess cabbage worth P250,000 to avert the wastage and the money was shared by the affected 300 farmers. But did you know the price of cabbage is not cheap in the supermarkets?


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