Manila Bulletin

Cheers, Ana!


It was an idea whose time had come, so the next idea was to stop it in its tracks, nip it in the bud, squash it like an insect. By using the power of the police to scare the law-abiding, a few of them succeeded in making the name of Ana Patricia Non a household word.

She’s 26, a furniture designer, product of Paco Catholic School. She resides in Quezon City’s Barangay UP Village (adjacent to Teachers’ Village, once the home of Miriam Defensor Santiago and June Keithley). What has made Ana very, very famous since April 13, if you didn’t know it yet, is how her Maginhawa Community Pantry has caught fire and how the blaze that ignited the bayanihan spirit has grown into a nationwide conflagrat­ion. Even with the temporary closure of the sidewalk food bank on the street where she lives, her fame and her project have multiplied, as good deeds have a way of making waves.

She said three cops had tailed her, asked for her phone numbers, inquired about her “group affiliatio­n” — the kind of informatio­n that neighbors and passersby interprete­d as part of an effort to pin the red tag on her. Talk on the street was that her project was suspected of being “NPA”.

What if one or two of those shadowy policemen are suffering from myopia or dyslexia? What if they read the sign on her pop-up pantry as Communist Pantry, upon closer observatio­n of which the letters were adjusted to read Communist Party. Supposedly, you see what you want to see.

Higher-ups saw it differentl­y. From Malacañang to the secretary of Justice to the secretary of the Interior and Local Government, from the chief of police to the Senate president, from legislator­s to the mayor of Quezon City; why, even the National Privacy Commission chimed in. In a matter of hours, the verdict was handed down — unanimous, instant. Leave Ana alone, let her fulfil her mission to reach out, give, share, inspire others to do the same and save the hungry, the ayuda-deprived.

Amid the gloom and doom, the Maginhawa movement thrives. See what you’ve done, Ana? That’s why you cannot afford to turn back on your goal or surrender your idealism.

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