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House probe on profiling, discrimination of groups pressed

MAKABAYAN BLOC CITES 'OPLAN X-MEN,' MUSLIM STUDENTS' LISTING IN HR No. 745
/ 07:55 PM February 27, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives on Thursday filed a resolution urging the lower chamber to look into and condemn the “profiling and discrimination” of individuals and groups on the basis of religion, gender identity or sexual orientation, and appearance, age, ethnicity and race among others.

Led by Kabataan Rep. Sarah Jane Elago, the Makabayan bloc filed House Resolution No. 745 following several cases of “highly condemnable and discriminatory” acts made by the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

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Among the cases cited in the resolution was the issuance of a memorandum of the Manila Police District (MPD) seeking to compile a list of Muslim students in high schools, colleges and universities in Metro Manila.

Also cited was the Makati police’s alleged profiling of transgender women which has been dubbed as “Oplan X-Men.”

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“In a now-deleted Facebook post, Makati City Police dubbed their alleged profiling of transgender women in the city as ‘Oplan X-Men’ in a bid to ‘rescue ladyboys’ from exploitation and human trafficking, but was clearly a form of harassment and discrimination against transgender persons which entails intimidation and stigmatization,” the resolution reads.

Meanwhile, the Makabayan bloc also said that the military is using the “same practice of intimidation and profiling” to Lumads in Mindanao “prior to harassing, attacking, and even killing them.”

In the bill, the Makabayan bloc also urged the chamber to order the AFP and the PNP to issue an “equivocal directive prohibiting profiling and similar practices that violate one’s right to privacy and safe spaces.”

“We challenge the AFP and the PNP to take correct action by rectifying and denouncing their own violations,” the resolution states.

Other lawmakers who authored the resolution are ACT Teachers Party-list Rep. France Castro; Bayan Muna Party-list Reps. Carlos Zarate, Ferdinand Gaite, and Eufemia Cullamat; and Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Arlene Brosas.

Not meant to single out groups

Police Maj. Gen. Debold Sinas, chief of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO), said that the memorandum issued by the Manila Police District (MPD), which ordered all its station commanders to “submit the updated list of Muslim students in high school, colleges and universities in your respective areas of responsibility,” was not meant for profiling.

Sinas said the 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.”

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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.”

Meanwhile, Makati police chief Col. Rogelio Simon said “Oplan X-Men” was aimed at rescuing victims of human trafficking, which they have been conducting as early as October last year.

Simon, however, clarified that the operations are not targeted towards the LGBTQIA+ community.

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