November 29, 2023

If Jesus Christ would come down from heaven a second time, He’d say, “Woe unto you hoarders and panic buyers, you deprive your fellow men of their right to live. Surely, at the end of times, your soul will be cast into the lake of eternal fire!” That is the fate that awaits hoarders and panic buyers. Despite the repeated assurances made by the government that there is no short supply of food and basic commodities, there are those who are selfish enough to think only of their interest by stocking their pantries and shelves with supplies more than what they need.
While others are busy worrying about their safety and well-being, others are busy lining up grocery stores gobbling up loads of alcohol, face masks, and canned goods for themselves. What are they thinking? That the world is coming to an end? Hoarding and panic buying is an unpatriotic act that is equivalent to rebellion. Hoarding and panic buying create a temporary shortage in the supply of commodities, promote disorder, and deprive those who are as much deserving to purchase these items from acquiring their daily needs. It shrews an economic imbalance that is not good for society.
The Philippines and the Filipinos, like all other countries, are reeling from a crisis never before experienced. It is a disproportionate war against an unseen enemy where the only chance of victory is the cooperation, as well as the sacrifice, of all. As President Duterte aptly described during his address: “We are all soldiers in this war, the least that we could do muster our forces to defeat the enemy is to cooperate.” To cooperate means to abide by what is being ordered. What is being ordered is to stay quarantined and not to panic. Not to panic means not to hoard nor buy items more than what you need. Remember, others too are coveting the basic things in life, especially during these trying moments.
We are supposed to be a civilization. We are rational beings capable of understanding what is right and what is wrong. It is already bad enough that the quarantine we are subjected to is making it very difficult on all of us. Indeed, these are tough times. Should we make this as an excuse to descend into the level of animals by letting the virus rob us of our humanity? Should we see fit that only the strong will survive? We are far better than that. It is during these trying moments that we must demonstrate the traits that make us Christians. Rather than greed and selfishness, show compassion, and charity, rather than frustrate life, inspire others, rather than receiving, give until it hurts. Thus, when you go to a grocery store, be conscious of others who are more in need of what you want to hoard or buy because of panic. Realize about the people you deprive if you buy more than what is necessary. Be part of the solution rather than the problem. Heck, for once, be a human being and act like one.
Of course, you may be in a position to pay what you want to purchase. You may be rich. That does not make it all right, though. C’mon, it is not the supply that determines the course of our buying capacity but the demand. Others who are less fortunate are likewise in need of the items that can tide them over against the contagion. So, the next time you push a grocery cart, ponder twice before filling it up with goods that will only be kept needlessly. Think of the others who are sick, hungry, in danger of dying, or are already dead. If you deprive them of the basic commodities that will save their lives, you are as much as the culprit of their misfortune as it is the virus.
Some people remain adamant by insisting of their own survival. They philosophize against the system by finding loopholes that skirt it. They jump from one store to the other, gorging every alcohol, face mask, and canned goods that they can get hold of. They store up goods to last for a year or so. Worst, they sell these stored up goods for more than a handsome profit. As much as these people are hoarders, they should be hoarded to jail. You see, hoarders and panic-buyers are the ones that create panic. They are the ones who start chaos and disorder. They are the ones who paint a picture of hopelessness and doom. It is, therefore, only proper that they be put in their place – in jail or better still, in hell.
In some cities and municipalities in Metro Manila, ordinances have been enacted prohibiting hoarding and panic buying. In these ordinances, there is a maximum quantity of bottles of alcohol or boxes of face masks or canned goods that each individual may acquire. It institutes a measure of order. It assuages the fear that essential things are in short supply. But, do we need to be so legalistic about this crisis that there ought to be legislation on what we must do and what we must not do? This is an insult to the inherent goodness of our human nature.
If prudence is the better part of valor, then discipline and self-restraint is the best part of our character. This is the time when the best part of our character shall determine the course of our future. Stay the course and think of the welfare of others. The government gave an assurance that there is enough for everybody. Do not hoard and do not panic-buy. Hoarding and panic-buying are the worst acts that you can do to worsen the situation. In this war, it is an act of treason. Instead, let’s all work hand-in-hand to subdue the enemy. Together, we shall overcome.