Two solons hit PNP over memo on profiling Muslim students
MANILA, Philippines — Two Muslim lawmakers cried discrimination over an alleged memorandum of the Philippine National Police (PNP) seeking to compile a list of Muslim students in high schools, colleges, and universities in Metro Manila.
Deputy Speaker and Basilan Rep. Mujiv Hataman and Anak Mindanao Rep. Amihilda Sangcopan condemned the directive and questioned the motive behind it.
“Maling-mali ito (This is wrong). Profiling has no place in a nation that respects and draws strength from the diverse beliefs of its people. Guilt by association is wrong, and sometimes fatal,” Hataman said in a statement.
“Baseless stereotyping can end in lethal results. What is sad is that this is an official directive, and aimed at children at that,” he added.
Hataman also said that those who issued the directive should note that President Rodrigo Duterte “has Maranao blood and takes pride in his Muslim heritage.”
The lawmaker further said that typecasting Muslims as possible terrorists and listing down all their names for a possible watchlist “is one of the greatest failures of police intelligence in our history.”
“Kung ikaw ay isang law-abiding Muslim masakit po ang ganitong paratang. Parang tinokhang ang reputasyon ng mga Pilipinong Muslim (If you are a law-abiding Muslim, these allegations hurt. It’s like the reputation of Filipino Muslims are killed),” Hataman said.
“Ang ganyang generalization ay huwag din sana nilang i-apply sa amin (These kinds of generalisations should not be applied to us). Muslim children are being bullied, and those who ought to serve and protect them should not join in their abuse. The police should fight, not fuel, discrimination,” the lawmaker added.
Hataman said he will seek a meeting with PNP to discuss the matter.
Meanwhile, Sangcopan said “no good will come out” of the said directive.
“This comes as we are about to celebrate Bangsamoro Day next month. This is a modern-day injustice not just to Muslim students but to all Muslim Filipinos,” Sangcopan said.
The lawmaker said the PNP should reconsider the said memorandum and halt all initiated efforts in response to the directive.
Hataman and Sangcopan earlier filed House Bill No. 1579 or An Act Prohibiting Racial, Ethnic and Religious Discrimination which is still pending before House Committee on Human Rights.
Not meant for profiling
Police Maj. Gen. Debold Sinas, chief of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO), confirmed that the memorandum was legitimate. However, he said that it was not meant for profiling.
According to Sinas, information gathered would be used by the Salaam Police Center (SPC) “to conduct interventions and programs in strengthening Salaam Police in partnership with the community.”
The SPC was established in 2008 and is tasked to “undertake close monitoring, networking and liaising activities with Muslim communities in addressing terrorism and lawless violence in their respective areas to ensure respect of cultural diversity and cooperation.”
“We firmly believe that one’s religion should never hinder us in pursuit [of] lasting peace and harmony thus, PNP through the DPCR (Directorate for Police Community Relations ) includes SPC as one of its top [priorities],” Sinas said.
Edited by KGA
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