MANILA — A police official apologized Wednesday to community pantry organizers who may have been distressed after being supposedly profiled by cops in their areas.
At a House hearing, Philippine National Police Human Rights Affairs Office (PNP-HRAO) chief Brig. Gen. Vincent Calanoga maintained that policemen are not directed to profile or "red-tag" pantry organizers.
"'Yong iba pong insidente na kung saan tinawag po na profiling o red-tagging ay hindi po sakop ng pulisya, ng buong PNP. Ito po ay binigyan ng kaukulang aksyon para hindi na po ito mauulit," Calanoga said.
(Some of those incidents described as profiling or red-tagging were not done by policemen, by the entire PNP. We have acted on these incidents to ensure that they will not be repeated.)
"Sa mga naapektuhan po, humihingi po ang PNP-HRAO ng paumanhin," he said.
(To those who were affected, the PNP-HRAO would like to apologize.)
Calanoga explained that cops inquire about community pantries because they are required to know all of the activities in their jurisdiction.
"Sila po ay may katungkulan na alamin ang lahat ng nangyayaring insidente o ano mang aktibidad sa kanilang areas of responsibility," he said.
(The police are mandated to know all the incidents and activities in their areas of responsibility.)
"Kaya 'pag ang pulis po ay nagtatanong, 'yan po ay para maisama po sa kanilang patrol report," Calanoga said.
(So if the police ask questions, that's for their patrol report.)
Earlier this month, a community pantry in Marikina ceased operations after local police started asking organizers about their personal information. The cops said they were only doing a routine check.
The Maginhawa community pantry in Quezon City also temporarily halted operations for a day last April as the organizer feared for her safety. Ana Patricia Non complained of red-tagging and said police officers asked for her contact number and to which organization she belonged.
The PNP has started an investigation after its units allegedly linked community pantry organizers to communist rebels.