Karapatan hits red-tagging of community pantries

While it is a definitely a glimmer of hope in these bleak times to see the bayanihan of communities looking out for each other’s needs through solidarity efforts and mutual aid initiatives such as community pantries, they are nonetheless a damning indictment of the Duterte government’s criminal negligence of people’s rights and welfare — of its glaring failure to uphold the State’s duty such as providing aid to households and communities hard-hit by the crisis.

It was simply a matter of time before this government’s devilish cabal of red-taggers would discredit and malign these initiatives, and these organized efforts from the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict and the Philippine National Police to red-tag, vilify, profile, and surveil community pantries and their organizers are desperate and pathetic, but dangerous nevertheless.

Today, the community pantry in Maginhawa, Quezon City was forced to close down following the threats and red-tagging received by Ana Patricia Non and volunteers, and it sends a chilling effect on people who simply want to help or organize their own initiatives.

The shamelessness of this inept regime knows no bounds. Sila na nga itong pahirap, sila pa itong makapal ang mukhang manakot. It is very much clear to anyone that they simply do not care if people suffer and die of hunger, as long as they are able to peddle their anti-people and malicious agenda that has only caused and exacerbated the suffering of the Filipino people especially amid this pandemic.

What these initiatives clearly show us is the power of organized and empowered communities — and Duterte’s fascist regime is threatened by communities coming together and taking concrete and collective action to assert their welfare. Organizing community pantries and other mutual aid initiatives is not a crime. Karapatan will be monitoring reports of police profiling, surveillance, and harassment in community pantries, and we call on all communities to stand against these nefarious schemes that aim to stifle our efforts to help and support each other, especially those in need.