With harassment of pantry organizers unaddressed, PNP offers assistance to Non amid threats
Residents wanting to pick up some vegetables and other goods at the Maginhawa community pantry queue along the sidewalk of Maginhawa Sreet in Quezon City before dawn on Tuesday, April 20, 2021.
The STAR/Miguel de Guzman

With harassment of pantry organizers unaddressed, PNP offers assistance to Non amid threats

Franco Luna (Philstar.com) - May 12, 2021 - 12:16pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police says it is "very much willing to help and provide protection" to Ana Patricia Non, the organizer of country's first community pantry along Maginhawa Street, who said that she has been receiving death and rape threats.

In a statement sent to reporters, Police Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, PNP chief, encouraged Non to file a complaint with the nearest police station and report the harassment she has been experiencing on social media.

“The PNP is ready to help Ms. Non especially if there is a threat to his life. He can go to the nearest police station to report these threats he receives and our police can immediately investigate who is making them,” Eleazar said in Filipino.

“She shouldn't think twice about approaching our authorities because I assure her that the PNP will immediately act on her complaints,” Eleazar added.

FROM INTERAKSYON: Nearly a month since community pantry was organized, Patreng Non still faces threats, harassment

The PNP chief said that in the investigation of the threats, police will look into all angles "including the previous alleged red-tagging of Non which she blames for the online harassment she has been receiving."

To recall, it was the Quezon City Police District's official social media channels that linked community pantries to the Communist Party without basis. 

When Non first reported being red-tagged by Quezon City police, whose personnel also reportedly asked her if she was single, QCPD leadership let the concerned personnel off with a "reminder."

Eleazar said that the Anti-Cybercrime Group can also help in identifying and tracking down Non’s harassers. He urged Non to get in touch with the PNP so that she could avail of law enforcement services, including a security detail.

READ: QCPD yet to respond to city notice to explain red-tagging of community pantries

'Stiff' treatment makes cops hard to trust

Non's camp opted not to comment when sought for comment by Philstar.com.

At an earlier press briefing, the pantry pioneer pointed out that it was hard to trust the PNP when the harassment also came from them. 

"What about the other community pantries experiencing harassment? We need to make sure the culture of intimidation is addressed. They can't just share red-tagging posts and then tell us to trust them," she said then. 

"It's been hard to talk to them the past few days because their treatment has been stiff...they didn't try to build a relationship with my community pantry." 

Weeks since the PNP vowed not to interfere with private sector initiatives, pantry organizers are still reporting visits by cops asking for personal information. 

READ: 'Checking or profiling?': What personal information cops can ask you for

One organizer that Philstar.com spoke to earlier this week said that the news of red-tagging and intimidation of had a "chilling effect" on organizers of community pantry.

"The way they talked to me was calm, [but] their presence just made me really nervous...With what's happening in the news, I couldn't help but worry," he said after he was visited by cops.

But past cases of harassment have still gone unaddressed, and PNP chief Police Gen. Guillermo Eleazar has yet to acknowledge what critics say is the culture of impunity, as he continues to stand by his men. 

Speaking at his first press briefing as the new chief of the PNP, Eleazar defended Monday the police's interactions with community pantries, saying that patrolling officers should naturally approach crowded pantries. 

"If the public will interpret everything as harassment, then we will always lose," Eleazar said partially in Filipino. 

READ: Another community pantry closes after run-in with Marikina police

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