MANILA – The woman who started a community pantry in Quezon City, which spawned similar movements across the country, has now expressed fear for her safety and that of her family following false allegations she has links with the Communists.
Community pantry initiator Ana Patricia Non said on Tuesday that the red marking also endangers the lives of the public who depend on aid.
In a news conference shared online, Non also dispelled allegations that she had links to rebel groups.
âPara lang po malinaw, wala po. Tigilan na po natin ‘yung mga ganitong pambibintang kasi napaka-delikado po eh lalo na po sa panahon ngayon, “Non said at a press conference.
(Just to be clear, I have no connection. Let’s stop such accusations because they are very dangerous, especially nowadays.)
“Wala po akong is linked to the Communist Party [of the Philippines] and napakaâ¦ pasensya na po pero ang dumi po ng question na ‘yan kasi po last thing na kailangan ko pong i-explain a mga tao kung ano ba ako, sino ba ako. Kasi, I plan to set up a community pantry and have a little taoâ¦ maybe, No said in response to a reporter’s question.
(Honestly, I have no connection with the Communist Party [of the Philippines] and i’m really sorry but this question is malicious because it’s the last thing i need to explain to people what i am, who am i. Because, my intention is clear, I just want a community pantry in place and people can eat … something to relieve hunger.)
The initiator of the community pantry said she also doesn’t have a personal agenda and that her only goal is to help those in need, especially during the pandemic. On Tuesday, she temporarily closed the Maginhawa community pantry despite calls from starving community members, due to security risks.
No said many community pantries have also faced harassment from authorities for being members of progressive groups.
She also lamented that the red marking has discredited the efforts of community pantries and their bayanihan spirit.
“Dinidiscredite din po kasi kapag nire-redtag ‘yung community effort’ yung tulong ng mga tao, ng mag volunteers. Hindi lang po basta ako ‘yung dinidiscredit niyo kundi’ yung buong community pantry na nasa buong Pilipinas.”
(It also discredits because when the community effort is marked red, the help of the people, of the volunteers. You are not just discrediting me, but the entire community pantry throughout the Philippines. .)
At the time of publication, there are approximately 200 community pantries nationwide, most of them set up by private or religious groups.
“Kung gusto po nilang itigil ‘yung community pantryâ¦ kung gusto na lang po nilang ipagpatuloy’ yung red-tagging, sige po gawin niyo pero kaya niyo po bang pakainin and bigyan ng sapat na tulong ‘yung mga taong’ to?” the community said the initiator of the pantry.
(If they want to stop the community pantryâ¦ if they just want to continue the red marking, go ahead and do it, but can you feed and help these people enough?)
“Kasi po kung hindi po kayo tutulong wala po kayong iaambag sa mga tao, hindi niyo po sila kikilalanin mas maganda pong huwag na lang po tayong magsalita ng mga ganitong bagay kasi po ilang pamilya po ‘yung naaapektuita ngong mg hindi bagay kasi po ilang pamilya po ‘yung naaapektuhan, she added.
(Because if you don’t help, you can’t contribute to people, you won’t get to know them, it is better not to talk about these things because some families are affected.)
Non said that the fact that she graduated from the University of the Philippines could have been the basis of her criticism.
âPwede rin kasi siyang factor na tinitingnan nila na taga-UP ka, aktibista ka nung college, nag-council ka. Totoo po ‘yun na nag-council po ako nung college and pagkatapos po nun nag-trabaho na po ako sa iba’t ibang enterprises, âsaid No.
(It can also be a factor that they consider you to be from the UP, that you were an activist in college, that you were a counselor. It is true that I was a member of a council in the college and after that, I have worked for various companies.)
âSo pwede naman po ‘yun pero gusto ko rin pong ilinaw sa mga tao na kung hindi ko po natutunan’ yung ganitong foundation sa UP and its iba’t ibang organization koâ¦ like the organization of its events, concerts kung ‘di ko po natutunan ‘yun baka’ di ko pa na-set-up ‘yung community pantry, âshe added.
(So ââthat’s okay but I also want to make people understand that if I haven’t learned this kind of foundation at UP and in my different organizationsâ¦ like organizing events, concerts if I haven’t learned Maybe I did not put in the community pantry.)
The fine arts graduate said her college experiences helped her show compassion.
“Malaki pong bagay ‘yung natutunan ko sa UP to its communities po talaga kasi doon po talaga’ yung foundation, ‘yung pakikibisita sa mga farmers, kahit saglit lang, kung paano kumausap sa mga tao kung paano’ yung dapat simple ka musta lang, mo sila, pinakikinggan mo sila, âshe said.
(I learned a lot in UP and in the communities because the foundation is really there, visiting the farmers, even for a moment, how to talk to people how to be simple, how are you them, you listen to them.)
Home Secretary Eduardo AÃ±o said earlier he had not ordered the Philippine National Police to investigate community pantries.
The Quezon City Police District (QCPD) and the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflicts also shared social media posts accusing the community’s pantry of propaganda.
Meanwhile, in a statement, Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte said she asked the QCPD district director Brigadier. General Antonio Yarra will investigate the “apprehensions and previous experiences” reported by No.
Video courtesy of Community Pantry PH