UPDATED: Maginhawa Community Pantry Pausing Operations Due to Red-Tagging
The effort was red-tagged by government-run pages.
(SPOT.ph) The OG community pantry in Maginhawa is pausing operations starting today, April 20, after having been associated with communist groups on government-run Facebook pages.
“Hindi magandang balita. Bukas po pause po muna ang #MaginhawaCommunityPantry para sa safety po namin ng mga volunteers,” said Patricia Non, organizer the Maginhawa Community Pantry. She started the community pantry on April 13 with extra food from her own pantry at home, unsure of whether the idea would fly or if it would get the community’s support. The effort took off after she posted about the small, two-shelf bamboo cart she parked along Maginhawa street, eventually inspiring more community pantries around Metro Manila.
“Malungkot po dahil hindi muna maipapamahagi ang goods na inihanda namin buong maghapon dahil po sa #RedTagging na nagaganap. Magbigat sa pakirandam ko kasi maganda po ang intentions ko noong binuo ko ang #CommunityPantry at ilang araw na din po na napakaraming pinagsisilbihan nito at ganun din po ang tulong na dumadating,” she said.
Official Facebook pages run by the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict and the Quezon City Police District posted graphics seeming to claim that community pantries are being used to recruit members for the New People’s Army.
“Humihingi din po ako ng tulong kay mayor Joy Belmonte tungkol sa usapin na ito. Lalo na po ay hiningi po ng tatlong pulis ang number ko at tinatanong po kung anong organisasyon ko. Natatakot po ako maglakad mag-isa papunta sa Community Pantry ng alas singko ng umaga dahil po sa walang basehang paratang sa amin. Gusto ko lang po talaga makatulong at sana po ay huwag nyo masamain,” said Non.
The Quezon City mayor posted a statement not long after Non asked for her help:
Updated (April 20, 12 p.m.): This article was published prior to the release of Mayor Joy Belmonte's post. It has been updated to include the statement.