By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
A proposal to issue identification cards for Muslims in Central Luzon as a counterterrorism measure encountered strong opposition from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) who called it discriminatory.
AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla, in the Mindanao Hour press briefing Monday morning, said the proposal is discriminatory against the Filipino Muslims as people of other religion can also be terrorists.
“When we start checking identification of individuals, it should not be aimed at certain sectors of our society but it must be applicable to everyone,” Padilla said.
“Because everyone may look like an ordinary civilian, but they may not be who they say they are. So it’s good and it’s logical to always check on the identities of everyone in your line that you are about to check,” he added.
He also appealed to the public to remain balanced as not all Filipino Muslims are involved in rebellion in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur which started May 23.
Last week, a consultation meeting was held among the Central Luzon Police, the military, political leaders, and about 200 Muslim religious and community leaders on the proposal of having an ID system for Muslims in the region.
An online report quoting Chief Superintendent Aaron Aquino, Police Regional Office 3 director, said an ID system for Muslims may help identify and weed out undesirable individuals and terrorists in the provinces of Pampanga, Bataan, Bulacan, Tarlac, Nueva Ecija and Aurora.
Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director Gen. Ronald dela Rosa, however, noted that the ID system for Muslims is not mandated by the PNP rather a locally initiated measure.
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