(Updated June 11, 2021; 10:01 a.m.) Photos and memes of Filipinos raising their clenched fists in the air surfaced online to defend community organizer Ana Patricia Non from alleged red-tagging.
In a previous hearing last May 19, Severo Catura, a spokesperson of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), questioned a photo of Non where she raised her fist in the air, citing some “people” had a problem with it.
Catura is also an undersecretary for the Presidential Human Rights Committee Secretariat.
During the inquiry, Rep. Fortun Lawrence (Agusan del Norte) initially said that Non did not promote her food program herself.
Instead, it inspired other Filipinos on social media to launch their own community pantries across the country.
Catura then disputed this, citing a photo of Non with a raised clenched fist in the air.
“I would like to dispute ko lang ang sinabi ni Congressman Fortun na walang publication. Sa totoo lang, meron tayong mga nakita tayong pictures sa social media na nakataas kamao pa ‘yung si Patricia Non,” he said.
The NTF-ELCAC official later claimed in the same hearing that the issue was raised by some people.
“Tao po ang nagreklamo, hindi gobyerno….Ni-raise nila ang issue na tumaas ang kamao,” he said.
Non is the organizer who launched the first community pantry in Maginhawa Street in Quezon City on April 14.
A month later, the community pantry was replicated by several individuals and groups in hundreds of different communities in Metro Manila and in some provinces.
Despite the altruistic goal of the bayanihan movement, the NTF-ELCAC continued to associate Non and other organizers to the communist rebellion without proof.
Some volunteers have also previously claimed on social media that local authorities were profiling them and asking for their personal information.
‘Raising fist is a common gesture’
In a Facebook post on the same day, Non responded to Catura’s remark and pointed out that raising clenched fist is a common gesture in state universities and in any occasion to express a win.
“Ngek normal po yun sa UP at iba pang mga state universities pati na din po sa nananalo sa bingo! Ang lala naman po kung yun na ang basehan para pagdudahan ang mga tao at masabihan na sila ay rebelde o komunista. Hindi po yun validation sa pangre-redtag!” she said.
She also asked the spokesperson in jest what gesture should students and alumni use for the next UAAP (University Athletic Association of the Philippines) season.
“Sige nga po paano po sa next UAAP? Ano po gagawin namin? Taas talampakan? Haha hala ang weird, di naman po lahat ganun kaganda at kalinis ang paa (ahem friends)!” Non said.
She also explained that her absence during the hearing.
“Di po ako nakadalo sa congress kanina dahil mataas ang lagnat ko, masakit ang katawan at ulo ko dahil kakabakuna lang po sa akin (normal po ito wag po tayo matakot sa bakuna),” Non said.
Memes, photos, comic strips
In separate Facebook posts, two Filipino artists shared their satirical comic strips showing common activities where Filipinos raise their arms and their fists.
Kevin Eric Raymundo or Tarantadong Kalbo’s rendition involves a character trying to see if he smells bad by raising his arms with his fist clenched.
It turns out the bad odor came from another man’s mouth who expressed concern over the former’s movement.
Another page called Ozzy Komiks, meanwhile, showed that passengers of a traditional jeepney appeared to have raised fists when they hold on to the safety handles during the trip.
Lawyer Tony La Viña also shared photos of himself with raised fists in the air as evidence that the gesture is a form of expression and not illegal.
Parody account Malacañang Events and Catering Services likewise shared a collage of President Rodrigo Duterte’s popular raised fist juxtaposed to a report about Catura’s concern about the act.
— Malacañang Events and Catering Services (@MalacananEvents) May 19, 2021