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Don't Kill Community Pantry Movement, Maginhawa Founder Says

She apologized for the pause.
IMAGE COMMUNITY PANTRY PHILIPPINES
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The originator of the community pantry movement urged detractors on Tuesday not to "kill" the spirit of giving that has since gone viral, as she appealed for a one-day pause caused by her being red-tagged.

Fighting back tears, Ana Patricia Non said she had to close the Maginhawa pantry for the safety of volunteers. It will resume on Wednesday after Quezon City Joy Belmonte assured them of their safety, she said.

"Wag nating patayin ‘tong pagtutulong-tulong nating mga Pilipino kasi maraming pamilya yung may naiuulam sa gabi...Yayain ko nalang po kayong pumunta sa pantry para mapakinggan niyo po yung mga kwento.. Pakinggan po natin yung mga kwento nila kasi hindi po isolated case yung kahirapan," she said in a Zoom call with reporters.

"Gusto ko po sanang humingi ng pasensya po sa mga pumila kaninang umaga. Yung mga pumila po, kahit alas-tres pa sila ng umaga nandun, hindi po sila nakapag-uwi ng goods para sa kanilang pamilya. Pasensya na po sa inyo sana po magkasya yung mga nakuha natin kahapon," she said.

Donations continued to pour on Tuesday which Non's group redirected to nearby open pantries. Even though the pause was only for one day, Non said it pained her to think just how many families they could have helped bring food to their tables. 

"Magko-continue naman po yung community pantry. I-resolve nalang po muna natin mga issue natin sa red-tagging, security po. Kapag nagpatuloy 'to, safe na safe po tayo lahat," she said.

"Masakit kasi natigil kahit isang araw lang kasi isipin mo ilang pamilya..Ilang meals sana yung maihahanda ng community pantry," she added.

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On questionning her intentions

Calling out one question from media about her supposed communist links, Non said: "Last thing na kailangan ko explain sa mga tao is kung ano ako, sino ba ako, kasi ang malinaw ang intensyon ko -- gusto ko lang naman magsetup ng community pantry at makakain yung mga tao, pantawid gutom."

"So between me and other people na nagkulang ng response, tingin ko hindi po ako yung dapat nag-e-explain kung ano ba ako or sino ba ako," she added. 

Non said even her affiliation as a former student leader at the University of the Philippines was being taken against her. She called for a stop to the red-tagging. 

"Kung gusto po nila itigil yung community pantry at ipagpatuloy yung red-tagging, sige po gawin niyo pero kaya niyo po ba pakainin and bigyan ng sapat na tulong yung mga taong ‘to? Kasi kung hindi po kayo tutulong, wala po kayong maiaambag sa mga tao, hindi niyo po sila kikilalanin, mas mabuti nalang pong wag tayo magsalita ng mga ganitong bagay kasi ilang pamilya po naapektuhan hindi po ako eh," she said. 

Non said that while she's aware that the government is doing something, she thinks it's not enough. "Kasi hindi naman pipila yung tao nang mahaba kung sapat na yung nakukuha nila", she said.

Non urges those red-tagging the community pantry initiatives to instead come visit and talk to the people lining up. 

This story originally appeared on Reportr.world. Minor edits have been made by Esquiremag.ph editors.

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