Muslim studes' profiling hit

February 21, 2020

TWO Muslim lawmakers  condemned the Philippine National Police’s “blatant profiling of Muslims and act of discrimination.”

Deputy Speaker and Basilan Rep. Mujiv Hataman and Anak Mindanao Rep. Amihilda Sangcopan expressed disappointment over the recent memorandum of the PNP seeking an updated list of Muslim students in high schools, colleges and universities in Metro Manila.

“Maling-mali ito. 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. Baseless stereotyping can end in lethal results. What is sad is that this is an official directive, and aimed at children at that,” Hataman, a former governor of the now-defunct ARMM, lamented.

“Those who issued it should remember that the President himself has Maranao blood and takes pride in his Muslim heritage. Dapat iparinig sa kanila ang mga speeches ng Pangulo kung saan ipinagmamalaki nya na ang kanyang mga ninuno ay mga Maranao,” he added.

The Basilan legislator 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.”

“Ang ganyang generalization ay huwag din sana nilang i-apply sa amin. 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,” he further stated.

For her part, Sangcopan said the police directive is one of the evils they hoped to prevent when she and Hataman filed House Bill No. 1579 or An Act Prohibiting Racial, Ethnic and Religious Discrimination, now pending before the House Committee on Human Rights.

“These are practically children who also struggle with the ills of discrimination in their own schools. Tapos dadagdagan pa natin ng ganitong klaseng profiling? If you are a Muslim student, how would knowing that your name is in a police list somewhere make you feel? I am certain no good will come out of this,” she explained.

The PNP memorandum was dated January 31 of this year and addressed to all Station Commanders of the Manila Police District to “submit the updated list of Muslim students in high school, colleges and universities in your respective areas of responsibility following the attached format.”

A table was provided to be filled out for details such as the grade level, gender and total number of Muslim students in a Station Commander’s area of responsibility.

Hataman said he will be seeking a dialogue with the PNP on this matter.