Timor-Leste sees more PH-inspired community pantries cropping up

Three days after a team of personnel of the Philippine Embassy in Dili, the Timor Leste capital, set up their unique Community Pantry, Timorese nationals set up their community pantry versions in their capital which validated the infectiousness of the inspiring Filipino “Bayanihan” spirit.

Vice Consul Laser Blitz Sumagaysay of the Philippine Embassy in Timore Leste said a Facebook post on Friday said more such community pantries are expected to open up shortly, with news reaching them that similar pantries are now being set up in the neighboring district of Viqueque and Audian.

“Today is just Day 3 and we’ve received news of pantries opening up in the neighboring district of Viqueque and soon in Audian. We have also started receiving more donations/pledges, show of interest, and queries on this initiative,” Sumagaysay added in a Facebook post.

A team of Filipino diplomats and some Timorese nationals led by Sumagaysay on April 21 put up their own community pantry inspired by a project that started in Quezon City.

From their own pockets and donations, the team’s pantry was able to provide food for 100 to 120 needy Tmorese folks,

Sumagaysay said the initiative has also served as a venue for information dissemination on what Philippine “bayanihan” is all about and how it relates to a community pantry, a relatively new concept in the country.

“While the initiative is largely inspired by the current Philippine community trend, we would like to share that the purpose of our initiative here in Timor-Leste is not solely about humanitarian assistance but also, and aptly so given our location and professional mission, diplomacy,” he said.

“Sharing one of the Philippines’ best cultural practices in the form of the ‘Bayanihan’ brand and spirit, and purposely linking it with the selfless concept of the community pantry, is in view of contributing something meaningful and truly Filipino to this side of Southeast Asia,” he added.

Although there’s no definite schedule as to when it will open again,

Sumagaysay said they have no set schedule yet when to reopen their pantry but the plan to continue the project their piloted. Meantime, he said, they shift the donations they receive to the Timorese community pantries “so it would eventually be Timorese to Timorese but Philippine-inspired.”

“For the coming days, we’re expecting a number of confirmed openings also,” he told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

Sumagaysay said “bayanihan” seems unfamiliar yet to the Timorese but the locals have expressed interest in it. He said his team is willing to guide and provide support to other communities that would set up their own pantries in Timor-Leste. (PNA)