Another community pantry closes after an altercation with Marikina police

Manila, Philippines (Update 5:13 p.m.) – The community pantry at Provident Village in Marikina has said it will close after meeting with cops who requested personal information.

“I live alone and I’m afraid to go home … I’ll take a break until I feel safe. We have to keep ourselves safe,” one of the organizers said. Philstar.com partially in Filipino when making a phone call on condition of anonymity. “I’m really scared right now, to be honest. I don’t know how to get home.”

According to the organizer, the cops from Marikina showed up on Sunday morning, when only one organizer was present, and asked for their addresses and contact details. They even started taking photos, the organizer said.

They also asked if the organizer was from any organizations but did not explain why this information was needed, saying only that they needed the details for official records.

The volunteers “politely refused” to give their information, but the cops insisted and the organizers felt compelled to give in. The same agents showed up later after the pantry closed for the day and offered to go home. , saying they just wanted to help.

“I said I was giving too much information for a private initiative [but] they didn’t seem to want to leave until we answered their questions, ”said the organizer. “I am very aware of what is happening to our other pantry organizers. So I was scared. They told me not to be because they wouldn’t put a red tag on me. “

Despite official police statements expressing support for private initiatives, community pantry organizers continue to report police intimidation and profiling weeks since the phenomenon began.

A weekly operation, the Providence Pantry was set up in coordination with local government officials, they said.

Two organizers from a town in Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao said Philstar.com in an earlier story, cops showed up at their residences, not their pantries, looking for them. Cops reportedly asked organizers to fill out an information sheet where pantry organizers were listed as a “priority intelligence requirement.”

“Several times they offered to take me back to my address,” said the organizer.

RELATED: “Verification or Profiling? “: What personal information the cops may ask you

“Profiling is not an official protocol”

During a phone call with Philstar.comPolice Colonel Restituto Arcangel, head of the Marikina Town Police Station, said recording information was not official police protocol.

Arcangel said the official directive was for the police to offer to help, not to collect information for an “official case”.

He denied that police took photos and asked for contact details or addresses, saying they were probably only documenting the operation for their report and looking for the organizer to offer help.

“The contact details were never mentioned. I don’t know why they got the idea that the police harassed them. The instruction given to us by our higher authorities was to help and support them,” he said in Filipino, adding that the cops were there. enforce health protocols.

“To me, it’s normal that they are looking for the organizer so that they can coordinate. It was probably just a misunderstanding between the two.”

Philstar.com sought the police sergeant. PNP spokesperson General Ronaldo Olay for comment, but he did not respond to the post after numerous requests.

Speaking at a briefing at Laging Handa in late April, however, Olay denied that the PNP had a policy to profile organizers of community pantries.

“There is no order from Chief Sinas to have profiling or red marking of the personalities behind these community pantries,” he said.

“The intention of the PNP there is to serve the best intention of the public. We only look at it from a public safety point of view. The police go there to monitor compliance with minimum public health standards. “

Philstar.com has also contacted the office of the mayor of the city of Marikina, Marcy Teodoro, but has not yet received a response.

“I’m really scared now. I just want to know why they tried to get our contact details …

“We only installed the community pantry because we wanted to help. “


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Norma P. Rex

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