MPD denies profiling organizers

Marc Jayson Cayabyab - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The Manila Police District (MPD) yesterday denied profiling organizers of community pantries in the city, after the owner of a food pantry in Pandacan said they were profiled by two police officers.

Marikit Arellano posted the incident on Facebook, screenshots of which were shared by Bagong Alyansang Makabayan secretary general Renato Reyes.

Arellano said she took down her post for her safety.

Two police officers from the Pandacan police station asked them to fill out a form asking for their names, contact information, occupation and family background in case of emergencies, the pantry owner said.

“Of course we felt afraid. We filled up the form just to avoid any commotion. They might suspect us of something if we turn it down,” Arellano said in Filipino.

MPD director Brig. Gen. Leo Francisco yesterday denied that the forms were given for profiling of pantry organizers.

Francisco said filling out forms was voluntary and that it would help police identify volunteers in the community.

“We need to know the persons and organizations as the case may be who will voluntarily be our partners. That is why we have to know some information about them for security reasons,” Francisco said.

Mayor Isko Moreno said yesterday that the city of Manila does not require permits for community pantries. He also ordered the MPD not to arrest persons organizing such initiatives.

“Good deeds need no permit,” he said.

In Valenzuela, Mayor Rex Gatchalian said community pantries are allowed in the city with no need for special permits, as long as minimum health protocols are observed.

“Just set it up. If somebody gives you trouble, let me know. Ako bahala sa kanila (I’ll deal with them),” he said.


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