The National Privacy Commission (NPC) on Thursday, April 22, strongly condemned what it called the "unjust profiling" of community pantry organizers.
“The National Privacy Commission denounces in the strongest terms any act of unjust profiling of community pantry organizers whom we consider heroes of this pandemic as this may violate their right to privacy,” NPC Commissioner Raymund Liboro said in a statement.
Liboro said that such profiling poses "risks" for private citizens.
“We have always been firm in our stand that unjust profiling activities are unwelcome due to the risks it entails to our citizens, such as discrimination and stereotyping,” he said.
On Tuesday, April 20, Lieutenant General Antonio Parlade, spokesperson of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), admitted that they have profiled the organizers of community pantries in the country.
Parlade had also likened the fast spread of community pantries to the work of "Satan" – a comparison widely criticized online and also by the country's privacy commissioner, who described the work of Maginhawa Community Pantry organizer Ana Patricia Non as a "selfless act."
“It is for this reason that we express our grave concerns over the statement of Lieutenant General Parlade Jr. regarding Ms. Ana Patricia Non, likening her selfless act to that of Satan’s,” Liboro said
Non started the Maginhawa Community Pantry initiative on April 14, which has inspired similar efforts in other parts of the country and even abroad, in East Timor.
Days into its operation, Non was forced to suspend their operations due to safety concerns after the Quezon City Police District and the NTF-ELCAC red-tagged them on social media.
National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr, NTF-ELCAC vice chair, had said that the government was looking into possible links of community pantry organizers with communist groups, even after Malacañang had called on the task force to leave these people alone.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, however, threw his full support for community pantries on Thursday.
"Kindness is everyone's color. Kahit ano pa ang paniniwala basta taos pusong tumutulong, susuportahan natin (We will support such efforts regardless of their beliefs, for as long as the effort to help is sincere). The DND appreciates and supports these community pantries," Lorenzana said in a tweet.
On April 21, PNP spokesperson Brigadier General Ronaldo Olay said PNP chief Police General Debold Sinas had already ordered the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) and the police regional offices to probe the red-tagging of community pantry organizers in their respective units.
In a statement, the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) reminded the public that they have no obligation to participate in the profiling of the state forces. – Rappler.com