MANILA – Police personnel meant no harm in going around community pantries and their presence is to help organizers so that health protocols are observed, Philippine National Police chief, Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said Thursday.
In a statement, Eleazar said this was apparent on the apology of the head of PNP Human Rights Affairs Office (HRAO), Brig. Gen. Vincent Calanoga, to pantry organizers who felt threatened or intimidated by some police.
During a congressional hearing Wednesday, Calanoga said allegations on police profiling are now under investigation.
“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 (and our HRAO director has earned my esteem and admiration in doing so)," Eleazar said.
He urged community pantry organizers who felt harassed and intimidated to file a complaint.
He said the PNP has never sanctioned the profiling of community pantry organizers who have been offering help to those in need.
“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 (I would like to make it clear that there is no directive from PNP national headquarters or my office for police officers to conduct profiling on community pantry organizers)," he said.
Eleazar said he has ordered all police units to help and protect community pantry organizers in their areas of responsibility and ensure that health protocols are observed.
Eleazar said the PNP Directorate for Police Community Relations has crafted guidelines to be followed by police personnel in engaging with organizers of community pantries.
Under the guidelines, police presence in the vicinity of community pantries should only be to maintain peace and order and to ensure that minimum public health safety standards are strictly observed. (With Priam Nepomuceno/PNA)