MANILA, Philippines – Philippine National Police (PNP) chief General Guillermo Eleazar on Thursday urged community pantry organizers to immediately file a complaint if they feel threatened or intimidated by the actions of some police officers.
“Makaka-asa kayo na agad po nating aaksyunan ang inyong mga reklamo,” Eleazar said in a statement.
Eleazar issued the statement after PNP Human Rights Affairs Office (HRAO) director Police Brigadier General Vincent Calanoga apologized to community pantry organizers and assured that investigations into allegations on police profiling are underway.
The PNP chief said the apology issued by the HRAO is “proof that the police organization means them no harm.”
“Ito ay isa lang patunay na walang masamang intensyon ang inyong PNP at ito rin ay magsisilbing mensahe sa lahat ng ating kapulisan na siguraduhin lang na nasusunod ang minimum health safety protocol sa community pantries at tumulong kung kinakailangan,” he said.
He also maintained that the police organization has “never sanctioned a profiling of community pantry organizers who have been selflessly offering help to those in need and fostering the Bayanihan spirit.”
“Gusto ko po linawin na walang direktiba mula sa PNP National Headquarters o mula sa aking opisina na magsagawa ng anumang profiling sa kanila ang ating mga police personnel,” he said.
“Base na rin sa direktiba ng ating SILG Eduardo Año, inatasan ko ang ating mga kapulisan na tulungan at protektahan ang mga community pantry organizers sa kanilang area of responsibility at tiyakin na nasusunod ang health protocols,” he added.
Eleazar said the PNP Directorate for Police Community Relations has already crafted guidelines for police personnel in engaging with organizers of community pantries.
Under the guidelines, police presence in the vicinity of community pantries should only be to maintain peace and order and to ensure minimum public health safety standards are strictly observed.