NCRPO to deploy Muslim cops for SEA Games to address cultural sensitivity issues
MANILA, Philippines – Muslim police officers will be deployed for the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in an effort to address cultural sensitivity issues as several of the delegates and athletes come from Islamic countries.
National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) acting director Brig. Gen. Debold Sinas said on Tuesday that the initiative was due to the fact that Muslim groups in the Philippines said they tend to feel more comfortable addressing queries to a fellow Muslim officer whenever they are abroad.
“They [groups] requested us na: ‘Sir, pwedeng maglagay kayo ng mga pulis na Muslim, naka-hijab ang babae at saka lalake naka-taqiyah?’ Sa ibang bansa pala ganito, ‘yong mga Muslim visitors natin, kapag nakakita sila ng kapwa Muslim nila, they prefer discussing kung ano bang problema,” Sinas explained in a press briefing.
(The groups requested us that: ‘Sir, can you send out Muslim police officers, with women wearing the hijab and men sporting the taqiyah cap?’ In other countries they do that, Muslim Filipinos who visit other countries prefer discussing problems with fellow Muslims.)
“Sa ngayon we will readjust our deployment. This is the result of our continuous dialogue with our Muslim communities, one of their observations is that wala tayong Muslim officers […] when in fact may mga countries tayo na Muslim like Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei Darussalam,” he added.
(For now we will readjust our deployment. This is the result of our continuous dialogue with our Muslim communities, and one of their observations is that we do not have Muslim officers when in fact we are hosting delegates from Islamic countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei Darussalam.)
Under the scheme, a two-buddy system composed of one male and one female Muslim officer would be sent to billeting areas and sporting venues, kicking off 12-hour duties from 6:00 a.m. They will then be replaced at 6:00 p.m. by two-men Muslim cops.
Cultural issues pertaining to religion have been raised before the SEA Games officially started, with some Muslim communities saying that there is a shortage of Halal-certified food. In Islam, consuming pork products is taboo and therefore prohibited.
The Singaporean delegation aired their sentiments in a letter to SEA Games organizers, saying that the variety of Halal food are limited. Meanwhile, officers of the Philippine Southeast Asian Organizing Committee said full halal meals will be served throughout the biennial tilt.
Sinas said this is a great learning experience for the Metro Manila’s police force, as it will serve as a guide for future events that the country may host.
“At least in the future activities natin, ‘pag may involved na mga Muslim countries, ito pala ‘yong kailangan natin in order to practice the cultural sensitivity,” he noted.
(At least in our future activities, if people from Islamic countries are coming, then we know what to do in order to practice cultural sensitivity.)
Edited by JPV
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