Human Rights Watch (HRW) slammed the red-tagging and harassment of community pantry organizations.
In a statement Tuesday, April 20, HRW senior researcher Carlos Conde called on the Philippine government, particularly authorities, local government officials, and its supporters to stop targeting organizers of community pantries.
“These pantries, where everyone is enjoined to ‘give you can, get only what you need,’ have been an incredible demonstration of compassion by Filipinos at a time when, because of Covid and the Duterte administration’s perceived inadequate response to the pandemic, many poor families are suffering from lack of food and household resources,” he pressed.
Conde said the community pantry movement should be “extolled, not vilified.”
HRW sounded alarm over the dangers of red-tagging.
“Red-tagging, which has been going on for years now, has been used almost exclusively against leftist activists and critics, often with violent results: many of those red-tagged have ended up harmed or killed,” Conde lamented.
“By vilifying now even ordinary Filipinos who only want to help, the government is weaponizing ‘red-tagging’ to instill fear among the general public that is increasingly agitated by the impact of the pandemic,” he added.
Ana Patricia Non on Tuesday temporarily paused operations of the first community pantry in Maginhawa St., Quezon City, following the red-tagging posts by the Quezon City Police District and the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).
There were also reports of profiling other community pantry organizers and volunteers, but the Philippine National Police (PNP) has denied such orders.