THE Philippine National Police (PNP) Directorate for Police Community Relations (DPCR) is crafting guidelines to be followed by police personnel in engaging with community pantry organizers to avoid any further misconceptions and misunderstanding.
PNP Chief General Guillermo Eleazar said under the guidelines, police presence in the vicinity of community pantries should not be to conduct profiling of organizers, but to maintain peace and order and ensure that minimum public health safety standards are strictly observed.
On Wednesday, May 19, during a briefing of the House Committee on Human Rights, Police Brigadier General Vincent Calanoga, acting chief of PNP-Human Rights Affairs Office, apologized to community pantry organizers who felt harassed and intimidated amid alleged profiling conducted by some police personnel.
Calanoga said such activity of the police is already under investigation and being acted upon.
Eleazar said Thursday, May 20, that Calanoga’s initiative to apologize only indicates that the PNP means no harm to the community pantry organizers.
“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. 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 said.
“It takes real courage to apologize especially for men and women in uniform. There is honor in that at lalo lang akong pinahanga ng ating HRAO director sa kanyang ginawa. 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 added.
Eleazar also urged community pantry organizers to immediately seek the assistance of the higher office should they feel threatened by the police.
Community pantries have sprouted in various parts of the country. They aim to provide free food for those hardly hit by the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19). (SunStar Philippines)