The Maginhawa community pantry in Quezon City was forced to close on Tuesday due to red-tagging and profiling against its organizers.
Ana Patricia Non was forced to temporarily not open the Maginhawa community pantry because she feared for the safety of their volunteers. The attacks and linking them to the communist struggle are similar.
The alleged taggers include the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) and the National Task Force Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).
They accuse the distribution of food in community pantries of being linked to communists and politically motivated.
“Kung pagbigay ng pagkain lang ang tunay na pakay nyo, bakit may kailangang pang dugtong na patalsikin ang isang pangulong nahalal nang ayon sa ating Saligang Batas na suportado at pinagkakatiwalaan ng nakararami sa atin?” said NTF-ELCAC spokesperson Lorraine Badoy.
But because the information was not immediately spread that the Maginhawa community pantry was closed, there was a long line of people before dawn.
Some people came back to get food and some first jumped in line.
Red tagging of Maginhawa community pantry condemned
People’s faces show sadness and fear, especially since there are others who do not know where to get food for their waiting family members.
“Hindi pa kami umuuwi kasi nagbabakasakali pa kami na baka maawa sila sa ‘min, baka bigyan kami pangsaing kasi wala na kami isasaing mamaya,” said Virginia Vinluan.
Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte said she is already investigating the incident and she supports the community pantries being built in the city.
Meanwhile, the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Tuesday believed that it was not right for law enforcement agencies to simply interrogate volunteers of community pantries in the country.
According to Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, the organizers should not conduct interrogation unless there is a violation of a law or ordinance.
“Suffice it to say that a person voluntarily doing an act of kindness and compassion toward his neighbor should be left alone,” said Guevarra.
“It is not proper for law enforcement agents to interrogate him unless there is reason to believe that he is violating any law, ordinance, rule or regulation for the good or welfare of the community,” he added.