THE Senate employees’ union in Tuesday set up a community pantry to help residents of Pasay City.
Aside from the residents of the city, the pantry’s beneficiaries include janitors and blue guards of the Senate who were deeply affected during the one-month lockdown in March to mid-April after numerous employees tested positive for COVID-19.
“We must redefine our role as public servants and broaden the meaning of delivery of public service”, said Rosel Eugenio – union president.
Eugenio said that as public servants, their role should not be confined in the legislation of laws but to extend concrete support of what the people need in these difficult times in which the poor and the hungry suffer the most.
“Our community pantry is a continuing effort of the union to serve the employees and the people under our project DAMAYAN which has been in action for a long time and enhanced under our new program ‘SAGIP KAWANI, SAGIP MAMAMAYAN’,” she added.
It can be recalled that the union and Eugenio were red-tagged by NICA Chief Alex Paul Monteagudo and NTF-ELCAC Spokesperson Usec Loraine Badoy.
The union was accused of being the ‘eyes and ears of the CPP-NPA-NDF’ to hijack the plans and programs of the government while Eugenio was tagged as an operative of the communist terrorist group but Senators were quick to defend the union and stand up for its legitimacy.
Even the community pantries all over the country were not spared from getting red-tag by the NTF-ELCAC Spokespersons Usec. Badoy and Lt. Gen. Parlade.
Organizers were subjected to profiling and police visits were also reported.
Even the pioneer, Ana Patricia Non, who initiated the community pantry was red-tagged and even likened to Satan by Lt. Gen. Parlade.
“The concept is to provide food for the masses from the initiative and kindness of the masses. The people especially the workers who were displaced from work and their families are already hungry and they have no one to depend on but the kindness and initiative of other people who are willing to help. Without enough aid from the government to respite the impact of the pandemic, community pantries are helpful,” Eugenio further said.
“We also join the call to stop NTF ELCAC’s attack on the public sector unions and review how it uses its budget,” she added.
The intensifying call to defund the NTF ELCAC should also mean reallocating its budget to the primary concerns of the people like immediate grant of additional food subsidy for the poor sectors, production subsidy for the farmers to strengthen food security, health benefits to the frontliners, etc.
As a start-up, members of the union and Senators’ staff contributed to the community pantry a variety of foods like rice, eggs, fresh produce, and condiments like cooking oil and salt to complete cooking needs.
Aside from the Senate employees, the union encourages the public to donate based on their capacity to sustain the community pantry and help more people to at least lessen their hunger even for a day.
“In these difficult times, our smallest share could provide a meal for a family even for a day”. Eugenio ended.