House probe sought on alleged profiling, ‘red-tagging’ of community pantry organizers

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 21)— A group of lawmakers is seeking an investigation by the House of Representatives into the alleged profiling and “red-tagging” of volunteers and organizers of community pantries.

The Makabayan bloc on Wednesday filed a resolution directing the lower chamber, through its human rights panel, to conduct a probe into the alleged “harassment” of the concerned parties — a topic that took social media by storm in the past day.

“Members of Congress, as representatives of the people, are duty-bound to ensure the Constitutional right of the people are protected and upheld,” the resolution read.

“The organizers and volunteers who initiate the delivery of aid to the less privileged do not deserve to be subjected to harassment and baseless accusations from the government itself that failed to deliver such services to the Filipino people,” it added.

On Tuesday, the community pantry in Maginhawa, Quezon City halted its operations after lead organizer Ana Patricia Non revealed that some police officers started asking for her affiliation after days of overseeing the aid project's operations.

She also raised concern about the "alarming" social media post of the Quezon City Police District linking them and other community pantries to rebel groups.

READ: What to do when cops approach your community pantry

The Philippine National Police, for its part, said it would also be conducting an investigation into the reported profiling of the pantry organizers and volunteers.

Similar makeshift community pantries have also popped up in other areas in Metro Manila and elsewhere around the country in the past days in a demonstration of charitable enthusiasm by citizens who saw a need to extend help to those severely affected by the COVID-19 crisis.