EDITORIAL - Outstanding Non

The Freeman
EDITORIAL - Outstanding Non

A woman who had been red-tagged by a government agency was recently chosen as one of the 11 outstanding women for 2022 by The Outstanding Women in the Nation’s Service (TOWNS) Foundation.

In case the name Ana Patricia Non sounds somewhat familiar to you, she was the woman who started a community pantry in her neighborhood in Quezon City at the height of the pandemic lockdowns to help those struggling to get basic goods. She inspired similar initiatives in different neighborhoods and communities across the country.

Perhaps confusing the world “community” with “communist”, the then spokesman of the National Task Force to End Local Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) red-tagged her and likened her to Satan.

“She did it alone right? That Ana Patricia. Same with Satan. Satan gave an apple to Eve. That's how it started," that spokesman said. He is not to be confused with another former NTF-ELCAC spokeswoman who is now in hot water for red-tagging then threatening to kill a judge after disagreeing with her ruling.

Non later shut down her community pantry for fear of her life after the police asked for her contact numbers and inquired about her affiliations. Which was ironic because the police would later initiate their own community pantry, likely inspired by what she did.

Now Non has been declared the awardee in the community service category of the prestigious award, which has been given to deserving women since 1974. If anything, this is a vindication of her actions.

This is also a good example of how red-tagging can go wrong, and how some people just cannot tell between who are communists and who aren’t.

This is still important today because the red-tagging continues. People who are only trying to help other people, judges and lawyers just doing their jobs, individuals just expressing their opinions --just about anybody-- can be red-tagged at the drop of a hat.

But enough of red-tagging for now; it’s an issue that likely won’t die soon. Allow us to extend our congratulations to Non and the other 10 TOWNS outstanding women for 2022, unfortunately we don’t have space for all their names.

Non’s fame may have been short-lived, but there are Filipinos all over the country, especially those who benefitted from community pantries, who will remember her and what she inspired at the mere mention of her name. We need more people like Ana Patricia Non who was brave enough to come forward with an idea that helped people, not agencies like the NTF-ELCAC that’s often befuddled as to who the real enemy is.


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