Parlade likens rapid spread of community pantries to work of ‘Satan’

After admitting to the profiling of community pantry organizers, the controversial spokesperson of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) referred to a biblical figure to attack one of these organizers. 

Lieutenant General Antonio Parlade said Ana Patricia Non, organizer of the Maginhawa community pantry, considered the original pantry that spurred the movement, was deceiving people the way Satan would.

Isang tao lang, si Anna, si Patricia ‘di ba? Same with Satan. Si Satan binigyan ng apple si Eve. Doon lang nagsimula ‘yun, du’n lang nagsimula ‘yun,” Parlade said during an interview for One News on Tuesday, April 20. 

(That’s one person, Anna, Patricia, right? Same with Satan. Satan gave Eve an apple. That’s where it all started.)

Ana Patricia Non on April 14 started the Maginhawa community pantry initiative, which has inspired similar efforts in other parts of the country. But a few days later, Non briefly suspended their operations due to safety concerns after the Quezon City Police District and the NTF-ELCAC red-tagged them on social media.

Parlade further explained that he was not referring to Non in particular, but rather to the entire organization that he suspected was behind the rise in pantries.

“I’m not referring to her. I’m referring to the big organization that may be at the back of all these. That's what we were saying, that's what I was saying,” Parlade explained. 

The NTF-ELCAC spokesperson also questioned the rapid spread of pantries all over the country. 

“I told you I have nothing against her but ‘yan ‘yung gusto naming malaman. ‘Yan ang bakit, bakit suddenly ang bilis itong dumami? Bakit iisa ‘yung theme nila? (That’s what we want to know. Why did they sprout up all of a sudden? Why do they have a single theme?) We really don't know. I really don't know. I’m not part of the intel but I’m just a spokesperson,” Parlade said.

'Leave pantries alone'

Even senators slammed the red-tagging of the pantries. At least 8 senators have issued a joint statement on April 20 telling the police and NTF-ELCAC to leave pantries alone. 

Various rights and progressive groups also denounced the allegations that the pantries are vehicles for communist propaganda. 

Meanwhile, 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 in their respective units.

Through community pantries, people can donate food supplies and other needs to help fellow citizens. The original Maginhawa pantry has since gone viral and was replicated in many places, from Luzon to Mindanao.

Despite the fiasco, community pantries continue to operate in many areas in the country. (READ: How to lead a community pantry in your barangay). – Rappler.com