The Center of Trade Union and Human Rights condemns the dirty staining of black propaganda and red tagging towards Community Pantry organizers by no other than the spokespersons of the National Taskforce to End Local Communist Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr. and Lorraine Marie Badoy. 

The malicious and incriminating remarks made by these perpetrators of red-tagging have been fixated towards the founder of the Maginhawa Community Pantry, Ana Patricia Non citing ulterior (i.e. communist-related) motives. Parlade called Non and her community pantry as Satan’s apple while Badoy accused Non for being affiliated with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP-NPA-NDF). Ex-military officials from the Department of Interior and Local Government also called for the need of permits for all community pantries. 

This is amidst being made clear publicly that the community pantries serve in providing much needed aid and support for poor communities through donations of food and essential needs. 

Putting community pantries into bad light not only is insensitive but is also heartless towards the people’s needs. Community pantries have been accepted and supported overwhelming by the people who yearn for social services during this pandemic.

These attacks on community pantries only attempts to sow fear in these times when mutual support and the Bayanihan spirit are much needed. 

It is a grave attempt made by a denial Duterte Regime to cover the real issue of their utter negligence, incompetence and lack of support and social services throughout their pandemic response.

Millions of Filipinos are unemployed and are in desperate need of livelihood, food and financial aid to support their families. Billions of pesos in foreign loans are yet to be utilized for proper pandemic response, vaccination and health services. Corruption and mismanagement of public funds run rampant all while health and social services suffer from lack of government support. The West Philippine Sea is being plundered by the Chinese at the expense of Filipino fisherfolk.

Yet, the Duterte Regime’s answer to these issues is to silence activists and critics through red-tagging, terrorist-tagging, illegal surveillance and arrests, and extrajudicial killings. In line with the implementation of the Anti-Terror Law, vast public resources were poured towards funding NTF-ELCAC which only intensified the crackdown of dissent and protests.

Community pantries are a shaking reminder to the government that the people had enough and are increasingly demanding for accountability and the removal of Duterte from his office. We support the community pantries and will unite to struggle to demand for social justice.

Meanwhile, CTUHR supports the sis senators in their proposal of defunding NTF ELCAC despiteits claimed projects. “Its people’s money and no single centavo should  be gsspent to sowing fear and red tagging those who do good to people when the government is failing.” NTF ELCAC also figured prominently in many extra-judicial killins and detention of human rights defenders in the country.