Carceral and Colonial Memory During Pandemic Times in the Philippines

A long letter of solidarity from the diaspora


  • Dada Docot The University of Tokyo and Purdue University



Community Pantry, Mutual Aid, Solidarity Movement, COVID-19, Philippines


#CommunityPantryPH is a mutual aid movement that began in the Philippines in April 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic. The movement is founded on the slogan ‘give what you can afford, take what you need.’ Instead of the movement receiving an overwhelming welcome, especially within conditions of food scarcity and health insecurity during the long-lasting pandemic, the Duterte government attacked volunteers with ‘red-tagging’ tactics—the malicious calling out of individuals as communists, which may result in harm both online and in real life to those red-tagged. The public response also circulated myths about the supposed indolence of Filipinos receiving aid and how the volunteers are fanning a culture of dependence among the poor. In this article, I introduce the concepts of ‘carceral memory’ and ‘colonial memory’ in understanding colonially inherited punitive, civilising, and self-deprecatory logics that have become embedded in postcolonial disciplinary regimes, and which suppress dissent and shape popular attitude and consciousness in the Global South.


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2021-12-17 — Updated on 2022-01-09