The reports of alleged profiling of organizers of community pantries by Philippine National Police personnel was refuted by PNP chief Gen. Debold Sinas on Tuesday.
“There is no order from the National Headquarters to conduct any form of profiling of organizers of community pantries,” Sinas said in a statement.
According to him, the PNP is aware that the emergence of community pantries is an expression of Filipino bayanihan, and the police have no intention to interfere “but to serve the best interest of law and order and public safety in such public activities.”
“Of particular consideration is the observance of public health standards when there is gathering of ten or more persons that builds-up a crowd,” he added.
On Monday evening, the organizer of the Maginhawa community pantry announced that they will be temporarily stopping their operations due to safety concerns after alleged red-tagging activities by members of the police.
Patricia Non claimed three PNP personnel asked for her phone number and supposed organization, lamenting similar experiences of other community pantries. She has since sought the help of Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte on the matter.
“Early today, I reached out to Ms. Non and discussed her concerns about her safety and security. I have requested QCPD District Director Brigadier General Antonio Yarra to conduct an investigation regarding Ms. Non’s apprehensions and earlier experiences,” Belmonte said in a statement.
Belmonte also said she will meet with Station 9 Commander Police LtCol, Imelda Reyes, under which jurisdiction Maginhawa falls, to further discuss Non’s security concerns.
Meanwhile, Interior Undersecretary for Barangay Affairs Martin Diño clarified that the setting up of a community pantry does not necessitate any barangay permit.
“Kahit na wag na kayo kumuha ng permit sa barangay,” Diño said. “Kaya lang nga talagang pupunta ang barangay once nakita na nabe-break ang social distancing kasi mananagot din si Kapitan oras na napabayaan niya ang paghahalo-halo ng mga mamamayan at nagbabadyang ng panganib para sa COVID-19.”