House probe into red-tagging of community pantry organizers, volunteers pushed
People flocking to the Maginhawa Community Pantry on April 18, 2021 receive porridge prepared by urban poor residents of Area 17.
Photos by Geela Garcia

House probe into red-tagging of community pantry organizers, volunteers pushed

(Philstar.com) - April 21, 2021 - 3:14pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Makabayan bloc is pushing for the House of Representatives to investigate the alleged harassment, profiling and red-tagging of community pantry organizers and volunteers.

“The organizers and volunteers who initiate the delivery of aid to the less privileged, do not deserve to be subjected to harassment and baseless accusations from the government itself that failed to deliver such services to the Filipino people,” the six-member group said in House Resolution No. 1723.

At least 13 resolutions and privilege speeches on red-tagging remain pending before various committees in the House.

The community pantry that was set up along Maginhawa Street in Quezon City — which inspired hundreds more across the country — was forced to shut down for a day after its organizer, Ana Patricia Non, reported being asked by policemen for her personal details.

State forces also ramped up their attacks on community pantries on Facebook, with them amplifying each other’s unsubstantiated claims that the grassroots initiative to provide donated goods to the needy amid the government’s failure to roll out sufficient aid is linked to the underground, armed communist rebellion.

Despite these incidents being well-documented, Philippine National Police chief Gen. Debold Sinas denied that cops are red-tagging and profiling community pantry organizers.

The Quezon City Police District, however, later apologized for its social media posts on community pantries and assured Non of “safety and protection.”

Malacañang also told President Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-communist task force to “let these community pantries alone,” although it did not directly say whether the task force’s members would be held accountable for their online posts. — Xave Gregorio

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