Ana Patricia Non, organizer of the Philippines’ first “community pantry,” reported that she has been receiving threats after authorities linked her initiative to the underground communist movement last month.
In a social media post, Non revealed that she received “death threat (and) rape threats” this week and people used her telephone number to order from a food delivery service.
Non said she is worried about her security and the security of other people who were also reportedly “profiled” and interviewed by authorities.
“I will just take a rest from interviews and photo opportunities this week,” she said in a social media post. “I will just focus on the pantry,” said Non.
Non said she was not expecting that her project, which will turn one month on May 14, would become a hit and influence others to help those in need.
“I am an ordinary citizen too … I am not a politician, nor a celebrity. Let’s focus on those lining up for the pantry since they are important here,” she said.
Non has received accolades from various sectors for starting what she called as a “pantry” where people most affected by the pandemic can get food for free.
Her act was replicated in many places and attracted the attention of authorities who at first tagged the initiative as having links with the country’s underground communist movement.
Non admitted that she feared for her safety and the lives of the other volunteers.
“We all know what happened to other people who have been subjected to ‘red-tagging.’ A lot of them were harassed and some were even killed,” she said in an earlier interview.
On Wednesday, May 11, the Philippine National Police offered protection to Non.
National Police chief Guillermo Eleazar urged Non to file a complaint with the nearest police station and report the harassment and threats she received.
Eleazar said authorities will also look into the reported red-tagging of Non. He said the Anti-Cybercrime Group of the National Police will help in identifying and tracking down Non’s harassers.
The government’s National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict has earlier shared several posts on Facebook accusing community pantries of propaganda.