Students’ group slams gov’t’s ‘crackdown’ vs community organizers, dissenters

Published April 20, 2021, 10:33 PM

by Merlina Hernando-Malipot

An alliance of student councils nationwide slammed the government for “covering up its incompetence” instead of prioritizing the needs of the people.

The National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) on Tuesday, April 20, criticized government forces for allegedly conducting a background check on community pantry organizers.

“Community pantries have sprung up in various parts of the country to help the people due to the famine caused by the government’s negligence in the pandemic – they being are very rude to those who only want to help, ” NUSP National President Jandeil Roperos said.

Roperos was referring to the experience of Ana Patricia Non who is behind the Maginhawa Community Pantry. Due to alleged red-tagging of her and members, the community pantry temporary halted its operations – leaving a long queue of people hoping to get some food and other supplies.

“All people who do good deeds to help our fellow hungry Filipinos are also targeted by because community pantries expose the lack of action from the government,” Roperos said.

In a separate statement also issued Tuesday, NUSP claimed that two youth leaders – who were in line for randomized swab testing at a barangay hall – were also “illegally captured” on April 19.

Since the onset of the health crisis, Roperos said that the vocal youth – both inside and outside campuses – have been at the “receiving end of harassment.”

Amid surge in COVID-related cases and deaths, over-capacitated hospitals, “underpaid and under protected” health workers and Filipinos turning to community pantries for support, Roperos lamented that the government would rather continue its “crackdown versus citizens than heed the people’s demands.”