QC mayor Belmonte expresses support for community pantries

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Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte expressed on Tuesday her support for the continued operation of community pantries in the city and ordered a probe on the alleged red-tagging by police on the volunteers of one such pantry.

 

“I would like to personally assure Ms. Ana Patricia Non and other like-minded individuals that the local government of Quezon City fully supports community pantries. Indeed, these initiatives highlight the bayanihan spirit inherent in our QCitizens. The city government will therefore ensure that the organizers and beneficiaries of community pantries remain safe and unimpeded,” Belmonte said in statement posted over Twitter on Tuesday.

 

The mayor issued the statement after Non, who started the country’s first community pantry in Maginhawa in Quezon City, said on Monday that she and her volunteers had to stop the operation of their pantry, alleging law enforcers red-tagged them, or made accusations as having connections with the communist movement.

 

“I have bad news. Tomorrow [Tuesday] we will put the #MaginhawaCommunityPantry on pause for the safety of our volunteers,” Non said in a social media post also on Monday.

“This is sad because we won’t be able to give the goods that we have prepared the entire day because of the #RedTagging that is happening,” she said.

Non said the social media pages of the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) and National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict red tagged them.

Belmonte has instructed the QCPD chief to look into the allegations Non has raised.

 

“I have requested QCPD District Director Brigadier General Antonio Yarra to conduct an investigation regarding Ms. Non’s apprehensions and earlier experiences. I will likewise meet with Station 9 Commander Police LtCol, Imelda Reyes, under which jurisdiction Maginhawa falls, to further discuss Miss Non’s security concerns,” Belmonte said.

 

The Quezon City mayor said that amid the prevailing pandemic, people should help each other.

 

“In these difficult times, let us allow kindness and selflessness to prevail. Mabuhay po tayong lahat, at magtulungan po tayong lahat (Long live and let us all help each other),” Belmonte said.

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