Remove ''culture of intimidation'' so more can benefit from community pantries: organizer
The person behind the viral community pantry on Tuesday said ''the culture of intimidation'' should be removed so that more people can benefit from the program.
In an online press conference, Anna Patricia Non said she and her community pantry group should not be the only one who are safe but all community pantries nationwide.
“I trust (Quezon City) Mayor Joy (Belmonte) that I’m safe with here… (As to the) QCPD (Quezon City Police District) I’m not replying to them, they are texting me… It is possible that I’m safe with them but how about the other community pantry that is also experiencing harassment?” Non said.
“There should be a measure that the culture of intimidation should go away… It will not easily disappear especially if it’s easy to share (post about) red- tagging,” she added.
Non admitted that she lost trust with police officers and they did not build any relationship with them.
She said she is consulting a lawyer how to address the issue.
Right now, the community pantry in Maginhawa compound is closed but Non said they will be open on Wednesday after finding a team that will secure the volunteers.
Asked if she is a member of any militant or communist group, Non said she is not linked with them and was only a member of school organizations when she was a college student.
She also said she has no idea why the community pantry was red-tagged.
“My intentions were clean… Just to be clear, I’m not (a communist member) and we should stop these allegations because it is dangerous especially during this time,” she said.
Non said red-tagging should be stopped as it greatly affects the people who benefit from the community pantry.
Last Monday, QCPD on their Facebook page shared a post about the community pantry being reportedly linked to the communist rebels.
In a statement, QCPD apologized for the shared post and reminded their social media handlers to be more circumspect and sensitive in their functions to serve the public.
“QCPD expresses sincere apology particularly to the affected party for the inconvenience that the inadvertent post could have caused and reassured of her safety and protection,” said Brig. Gen Antonio Yarra, the district director.
“We are now reaching out with the organizer (or) outlet manager as the QCPD is very much willing to support the noble cause especially in this time of pandemic,” he added.
The Maginhawa community pantry is the first to be set up. Non said its purpose is to help people who are in need.
Non also called local government officials to not set up their own community pantry as they have their own budget in order to help their constituents.
“Unnecessary for the government to set up community pantry since they have a budget and they can allocate it directly to the people,” she said.
On the issue of securing permits before holding community pantries, Non said there should be no need as it will only discourage other organizers.
“If permit is required, I don’t understand because do you need a permit in order to help? You will just place the goods there,” she said.
“The help will just be delayed due to permit. I think it is unnecessary… It will only discourage the other (organizers of) community pantries,” she added. Ella Dionisio/DMS