MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Tuesday denied claims that it is profiling the organizers of community pantries that have popped up in various areas amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“There is no order from the National Headquarters to conduct any form of profiling of organizers of community pantries,” PNP chief Debold Sinas said in a statement.
“It is beyond the interest of the PNP to delve into purely voluntary personal activities of private citizens” he added.
Sinas issued the statement following reports that some of the organizers were being red-tagged and profiled by alleged government authorities.
Anna Patricia Non, the person behind the Maginhawa community pantry, earlier announced they would temporarily suspend their operation due to alleged red-tagging.
“We are aware of the activities of these community pantries as an expression of Bayanihan spirit, but we have no intention to interfere but to serve the best interest of law and order and public safety in such public activities,” Sinas said.
“Of particular consideration is the observance of public health standards when there is gathering of ten or more persons that builds-up a crowd,” he added.
The PNP chief noted that this is not the first time that similar activities were initiated amid the pandemic, saying that some farmers’ organizations and local government units have also hauled their produce of fruits and vegetables to help depressed communities in Metro Manila last year.
“Similarly, police did not interfere with these activities rather extended utmost assistance to ensure orderly distribution to the needy,” Sinas said.