Apolonio Mendoza Command-NPA-Quezon supports* the initiative of masses in urban areas to set up “community pantries” to cater to basic needs of Filipinos affected by quarantine restrictions. It has helped the masses in many parts of the country overcome their hunger and scarcity of aid. These highlight that the masses can rely on their own strength and collective efforts despite hurdles and restrictions that put in their way.
For over a year, Filipinos in urban and rural areas have been bombarded with quarantine restrictions that have increasingly barred them from their jobs, which has become a factor for higher hunger rates in the country. They have plead almost desperately for financial aid just to provide for their everyday needs, but the reactionary government had nothing but excuses and more failed responses to give.
The community pantries as an initiative by well-meaning individuals and groups are a light in the dark–steps taken by masses as an active response to the crisis that the pandemic presents. With the principle of “Give according to one’s capabilities, take according to one’s needs”, it has promoted not only charity but collective aid amongst Filipinos, and has shown the people that they can concretely address their own plight when they work together.
On the other hand, AMC-NPA-Quezon condemns the rampant red-tagging and surveillance that has ensued a week after the initiation of the community pantries. While DILG Sec. Eduardo Año and PNP Chief Debold Sinas denied this, NTF-ELCAC spokesperson and SOLCOM Chief Antonio Parlade Jr. blurted out that they in fact have began profiling groups and individuals behind the community pantries, thus exposing their dangerous agenda.
The red-tagging and surveillance are only part of another attempt of Antonio Parlade Jr. and the rest of NTF-ELCAC to ruin the masses’ efforts to address their needs and advance their rights. The truth is that these reactionaries’ faces went pale because these initiatives highlight the inefficiencies of their responses to the pandemic and only prove how useless their steps have been in comparison. The red-tagging is a way to save face because they are humiliated that the masses have instantly and effectively solved the major concern of hunger and aid by themselves, with no help from the reactionary government. They go paranoid at the sight of collective action and immediately call these acts as rebellion, incitement of revolution and communism, because they know that their ties to the masses grow weaker as they intensify conditions that the people suffer through everyday. They raise alarms at any semblance of struggle because they are afraid of the great strength that the masses possess.
Parlade even has the gall to criticize proactive steps while he continues to drive the masses into hunger in far-flung areas that are beyond the media’s reach and are abandoned by the Duterte regime. In the countryside, the AFP-PNP have only worsened the pandemic’s conditions for the masses. The 80th IBPA has imposed food blockades in Sitio Angelo, Brgy. Umiray in General Nakar, Quezon in December 2020 and March 2021, and have restricted rice to be transported to interior areas, for lame excuse that these supplies are used to support the NPA. This is gravely inconsiderate especially since several masses from North Quezon had been experiencing deaths due to sickness at the time these blockades were imposed.
The people of North Quezon should continually expose the 80th IB’s fascist agenda in the countryside. They should also continue to come together and creatively make solutions to address their needs in the midst of the pandemic. The people of North Quezon can rely on their collective efforts to advance their rights and welfare.
The state’s suppression of these efforts will only be increasingly intolerable for the masses, and the reactionaries are shaking in fear behind their cloak of ferocity. The oppression and suffering that the US-Duterte regime continues to inflict upon the people of Quezon will only push their desire to break free and participate in waging armed struggle to crush the US-Duterte regime that represents their plight.###