When police asked the details of the people who built various community pantries in the country, they may have violated a provision in the Data Privacy Law, according to Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Menardo Guevarra.
According to Guevarra, it depends on what personal information the authorities obtained from the organizers.
“Possibly the data privacy law, depending on the kind of personal data obtained without the consent of the person concerned, and the purpose for which the data was obtained,” said Guevarra.
Guevarra said any community pantry organizer or individual can file a complaint if they believe their rights have been violated.
“If it’s a criminal complaint, sa prosecutor’s office. If a civil complaint for injunction and damages, directly sa court. If administrative complaint, sa PNP/DILG or AFP, as the case may be,” said Guevarra.
Meanwhile, Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) President Domingo Cayosa believes that there is no violation of the law by those who only want to feed the hungry in the midst of a pandemic, such as those who initiate community pantries.
“No law is violated when one feeds the hungry and helps the needy survive in this pandemic. Community pantries should be praised, not profiled; replicated, not red-tagged; supported, not stopped,” said Cayosa.
Data privacy law ‘possibly’ violated in profiling of community pantry organizers: DOJ
In a separate interview with TeleRadyo, Cayosa also stressed that the organizers of the community pantry have no obligation to fill out any form given to them by the authorities.
He said the authorities can investigate the activities of the community pantry but not to the point of taking even the personal information of those behind it.
“Kinakailangan na yung pulis ang magpaliwanag kung meron ba siyang basehan… Eh [kung] wala naman, so huwag nilang sagutin. Ang problema kasi ay natatakot yung taumbayan tuloy, pati na rin yung gustong makinabang don sa kawang-gawa na ito,” said Cayosa.
It could be recalled that Quezon City Police District allegedly red-tagged the organizers of the Maginhawa community pantry, but later apologized for what they did.
The National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) continues to implicate organizers in communism.