Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte on Wednesday appealed to the country’s anti-communist panel to “be more sensitive” to people’s feelings as deploying armed personnel to community pantries might stoke fear among the citizens.
Belmonte said that as much as she understands the responsibility of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict’s (NTF-ELCAC) to ensure security, she also wants it to “trust the structure they put in place.”
“Kaya nga kasama kayo sa ating peace and order council…kasi tinuturuan nyo kami paano magidentify ng (The reason why you are part of our peace and order council is because you help us identify) actions or words that might be attached to movements to overthrow the government,” she said in an ANC interview.
Belmonte added that it is actually the barangay authorities that have the capacity to determine threatening or alarming actions because they know their people in the community.
Since the Quezon City Police District already told Belmonte that it was not members of the city police that were deployed to Maginhawa Community Pantry carrying long firearms, the mayor said she assumes the personnel were from NTF-ELCAC.
She said the anti-communist panel’s deployment of armed personnel showed that even they were “not trusing the sytem they put in place” as they were “doing everything by themselves.”
“It scares our constituents,” Belmonte said as some uniformed personnel also reportedly went to other community pantries in the city and did a profiling on the volunteers.
“Our job is to protect and to make them feel safe. And what we’re doing is the opposite,” she added.
Belmonte told NTF-ELCAC that the local government is willing to work with it should it get alarming and verified intelligence about community pantries.