Press Release
April 22, 2021

Hontiveros files resolution condemning harassment, red-tagging against community pantry organizers

Senator Risa Hontiveros on Thursday filed a resolution condemning the acts of harassment, red-tagging and intimidation by national government officials and law enforcement authorities against private citizens conducting community pantries.

According to the Resolution, "These heavy-handed tactics by State agents against community pantries are not just undemocratic, they also punish Filipinos who are already suffering because of the pandemic and who desperately need the lifeline extended by these community pantries."

Proposed Senate Resolution No. 705 authored by Hontiveros also urges the executive branch to ensure the safety and protection of community pantry organizers inasmuch as they provide an invaluable service to communities in these times.

"Instead of harassment and threats against community pantry organizers, they should be lauded for embodying all that is good and noble in the Filipino community especially during times of hardship and hunger," she said.

"Bakit isusuplong ang tumutulong? Huwag naman nating patayin ang natitirang pag-asa ng ating mga kababayan. Pagtutulungan at pagdadamayan ang kailangan, hindi karahasan o pananakot," Hontiveros said.

The senator underscored the role of community pantries in drawing from Filipinos' innate sense of bayanihan, particularly in times of crises and emergencies.

"Community pantry is a response to the urgent needs of Filipinos for food. It creates a platform for civic-minded citizens to express solidarity with those in need," she said.

Specifically, the resolution cited the admission of National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade, Jr., that they have profiled the organizers. Likewise, DILG Undersecretary Martin Dino said that organizers should seek permission from local governments before putting up community pantries.

Furthermore, police officers have been paying visits and were asking for the names, numbers and social media accounts of the organizers.

It was also recalled that Ana Patricia Non, organizer of the Maginahawa Community Pantry which started it all, has suspended operations due to safety concerns.

"What the organizers need is support and protection from the government para mas mapalawak pa at mas marami pang kababayan nating nangangailangan ang maabutan ng tulong. We must nurture an environment where the bayanihan spirit of Filipinos can thrive and flourish. Ito ang kailangan natin para makatawid sa pandemya," Hontiveros concluded.

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