Leave them alone

THAT DOES IT - Korina Sanchez (The Freeman) - April 23, 2021 - 12:00am

NTF-ELCAC spokesperson Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr. himself admitted they conducted profiling on those behind community pantries. According to him, they only want to know that communists do not have a hand or an agenda behind these. The principal behind the first community pantry in Maginhawa, Quezon City, who merely wanted to help those in dire need of aid was forced to temporarily close down the operations for fear of red-tagging. My goodness. These are all volunteers. Volunteers who donate anything from food, clothing, furniture to household items. Volunteers who man the pantries to prevent abuses. Everyone voluntarily gives their time just to help the community.

And what is the first thing they get? They are suspected to be fronts of communists engaged in propaganda and the NTF-ELCAC should know everything about them. Who wouldn’t be afraid if someone suddenly wanted to know all your information, especially if they are police officers? Parlade denies they were red-tagging. They just wanted to know who was behind the pantries and make sure they do not support any group or agenda. Really? The communists are in the West Philippine Sea if they really want to find them.

This is the sad state of our country. Those who just want to help others are immediately thought ill of. I wouldn’t be surprised if these are supporters of this administration based on social media posts. And Parlade and the QCPD wasted no time in finding out who they were. Some just cannot accept someone else doing better than the government. Do you recall Manuelito Luna of the PACC who wanted VP Leni Robredo investigated and charged during the early days of the pandemic and lockdown because she was the first to provide dormitories and transportation to medical frontliners, as well as the donation of PPEs to hospitals? He claimed Robredo was upstaging and undermining the government's relief efforts. It was clear Robredo was not seen as part of the government, even though she was elected by the people. The pushback and backlash were intense. Fortunately, President Duterte fired Luna immediately.

The Palace has ordered the NTF-ELCAC to leave community pantries alone. Pantries in the hundreds have sprung up all over the country as if in defiance of the profiling and red-tagging. The DILG claims it did not order the PNP to gather information of those behind the pantries. DOJ Sec. Menardo Guevarra said, "it is not proper for law enforcement agents to interrogate them unless there is reason to believe that they are violating any law.” I hope these statements are true. Will the NTF-ELCAC, the PNP, and especially Parlade listen?

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