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No ID, No Entry policy stays in Zambo

/ 07:34 PM January 10, 2020

ZAMBOANGA CITY—Last January 5, a 68-year-old farmer from the remote Labuan village here set out to sell his produce at the city proper and visit his children who are studying in a local university.

But at a checkpoint, soldiers and police barred the farmer from entering the city proper as he could not show an identification card.

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The policy, a remnant of the security measures imposed along with martial law in Mindanao that ended on Dec. 31, 2019, has remained.

“I have my voter’s ID but I failed to bring it. We were informed that those without IDs cannot enter the city proper,” the old man lamented.

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The farmer has since complained about it, along with many others.

But the local government and security forces are bent on enforcing the measure.

At the City Peace and Order Council (CPOC) meeting on Jan. 9, the body, chaired by Mayor Maria Isabelle Salazar, “decided to retain the implementation of the ‘No ID, No Entry’ policy in Zamboanga City, notwithstanding the end of martial law in Mindanao.”

As implemented, passengers coming into the city are asked to alight from buses upon reaching a checkpoint, present their IDs before being allowed to get in the bus again and proceed to the city’s Integrated Bus Terminal (IBT).

Col. John Anthony Divinagracia, commander of Joint Task Force Zamboanga, stressed that in lieu of martial law, the policy of requiring IDs is still justified under the state of national emergency that still prevails over Mindanao.

This is based on Proclamation No. 55 which was issued by President Rodrigo Duterte in September 2016 following a bombing in Davao City.

The military and police maintained that nothing has changed in the city’s security measures during the post-martial law period.

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The police said they keep the deployment of personnel to the central business district and adjacent villages in coordination with the military’s Joint Task Force Zamboanga.

Also sustained is the deployment of personnel to 15 checkpoints in 12 villages.

Prior to the CPOC decision, Maj. Edwin Duco, spokesperson of the Zamboanga City police, disclosed that the local police are inclined to do away with the ID policy, except in closed premises.

Duco said polic are very cautious as the policy might infringe on civil rights.

“This may be tantamount to denial of liberty. We don’t do things that may violate (the) rights of the people,” Duco said.

Lawyer Frederick Ian Capin, regional director of the Commission on Human Rights in Western Mindanao, cautioned authorities anew about the ID policy.

“If entry is outrightly denied just because there is no ID in possession, (it)  is a violation of the right to travel of every citizen,” Capin said.

Edited by TSB
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TAGS: Martial law, Security, Zamboanga
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