Malacañang on Monday said the emergence of “community pantries” nationwide were representations of Filipinos’ bayanihan spirit, and should not be seen as a rebuke of the government’s pandemic response.

Palace spokesman Harry Roque made the statement after former Vice President Jejomar Binary claimed community pantries existed because of the government being “absent” in providing Filipinos’ basic necessities.

“The community pantry represents the best in the Filipino. I don’t think anyone can claim to be a founder of that. I think this is a spontaneous movement amongst Filipinos. It’s part of our psyche to help one another kapag mayroon talagang mga panahon ng pangangailangan,” Roque said in a virtual presser.

“So, I don’t see that as a condemnation of government, it simply shows the best in us during the worst of times,” he added.

The community pantry initiative started on Maginhawa Street in Quezon City.

Written on community pantries are “rules” about how they work: “Magbigay ayon sa kakayanan; kumuha batay sa pangangailangan.” (Give what you can and take what you need.)

Roque over the weekend said the emergence of community pantries was “laudable” but stressed that the government had been providing enough subsidies for families affected by the pandemic.

“The social amelioration programs and services of the national government serve as subsidy for the provision of basic necessities and a tool for the recovery and rehabilitation of the most affected families and individuals,” he said. John Ezekiel J. Hirro