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Scrap ‘discriminatory’ Muslim ID policy – Gatchalian

SAGUIARAN, LANAO DEL SUR, Philippines – Senator Win Gatchalian speaks with an evacuee from strife-torn Marawi City during his visit to the displaced residents at the nearby town of Saguiaran, 5 June 2017. The senator has denounced the Muslim identification (ID) card system in Tarlac due to the ongoing conflict in Marawi City, calling it unconstitutional and discriminatory. Photo by Mark Cayabyab/OS WIN GATCHALIAN

Senator Win Gatchalian is calling for an immediate end to the Muslim identification (ID) card system being implemented in certain towns in Tarlac province to screen potential security threats as a result of the ongoing conflict in Marawi City.

“The Muslim ID card system is a discriminatory policy which violates the constitutional right of Muslim Filipinos to equal protection under the law. It should be scrapped immediately,” Gatchalian said.

The senator explained that the policy, which he believes to have been implemented in good faith by LGUs and police forces in the area, nevertheless singles out Muslims in an unfair and patently illegal manner.

If allowed to continue, Gatchalian expressed concern that the ID system would encourage hostility against Muslims in affected communities and make them susceptible to religious profiling by law enforcement authorities.

The senator also reminded the public that law-abiding Muslims should not be unfairly linked to the violent extremism espoused by groups such as the DAESH-inspired Maute Group and its allied terrorist networks in Mindanao.

“Terrorism is an unholy crime against humanity that has been denounced by every religion in the world, including Islam. Our law-abiding Muslim brothers and sisters are not the enemy, and I will oppose any policy which implies that they should be treated with suspicion merely because of their religious beliefs,” Gatchalian said.