Philippines: Muslim-only ID discriminatory, military says

11th Jul 2017
Philippines: Muslim-only ID discriminatory, military says

By Roy Ramos

 

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (AA): A proposed identification system for Muslims is discriminatory, the Armed Forces of the Philippines said Monday.

Authorities want identification for “everyone, not just a certain sector of the society”, according to military spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla.

“It is discriminatory if you ask IDs from just one sector of society,” said Padilla at a news conference, and urged a national ID system the military supports.

“Not all our Muslim brothers and sisters are part of the rebellion. Only a few of them are… Terrorists are trying to make it appear that it is a religious war… Let us not allow them to incorporate such themes in this conflict,” he added.

The Central Luzon police suggested the issuing of special IDs to Muslims from Mindanao, saying this would allow authorities to identify people with ties to terrorists.

A similar system is being implemented in Paniqui, Tarlac in the central Philippines, according to Central Luzon police director Chief Supt. Aaron Aquino.

The proposed system has drawn criticism from various sectors such as the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Governor Mujiv Hataman, Imam Council of the Philippines president Ebra Moxsir, Shariah lawyer Harun and Senators Sherwin Gatchalian and Paolo Benigno Aquino who believes such a system is a form of discrimination.

“If the requirement is security-related, the ID system should be applied to every resident of the community, to every Filipino, not just Muslim,” Hataman said.

“We believe this policy clearly discriminates against the believers of Islam and could set a dangerous precedent. It could also ignite anger among young Muslims who are the primary target for recruitment of extremist groups,” Hataman said in a statement.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) said the local government in Paniqui, Tarlac has imposed an ID system for Muslims and other towns have been urged to do the same.

The proposal will cover around 26,000 Muslims in Central Luzon, the HRW said.

“The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and other human rights treaties to which the Philippines is a party prohibits discrimination based on religion. The IDs could also violate the rights to equal protection of the law, freedom of movement, and other basic rights,” the group said.

Additional report by The Muslim News

[Archive Photo: Muslim student orphans in Mindanao July 2015. Photographer: Muhammed Bilal Kenasari/AA]

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