Part of peacebuilding? Groups express concern over police profiling of Muslim students

Copy of memorandum order on the profiling of Muslim students in NCR

By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
Bulatlat.com

MANILA – Various groups have expressed concern over a police memorandum ordering the submission of an updated list of Muslim students in Metro Manila.

“We are deeply alarmed and enraged over this yet another irrational and unwarranted move of the PNP as it poses nothing but serious risks to Muslim students including children who are studying at secondary schools. The memorandum promotes discrimination and Islamophobia and severely undermines the safety and security of the Muslim students,” child rights group Salinlahi said in a statement.

In a memorandum dated Jan. 31, 2020, Manila Police District’s Police Lt. Col. Michael Garcia ordered for strict compliance the submission of an “updated list” of Muslim students in high school, colleges, and universities in the National Capital Region “as part of the strengthening of peacebuilding and counter violent extremism of the PNP.”

Salinlahi said the profiling will result to “possible police surveillance and their increased presence in schools as well as spike in cases of harassment, intimidation and threat against Muslim students.”

This, they added, will create fear among Muslim youth.

Joselyn Martinez, national chairperson of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers, said schools should “remain zones of peace, free of police and military intrusion.” Police presence, the teachers group said, should not be allowed in school premises given their “ignorant and islamophobic” targeting of Muslim students.

“As an education institution, it is our duty to protect our students from such dangerous ignorance and discriminatory practices and more importantly, to counter these by ensuring that schools remain safe spaces where diversity of beliefs and thoughts is valued and respected, and critical thinking is honed without threats of any kind,” Martinez added.

Salinlahi called on the Philippine police to recall the memorandum and end all kinds of profiling against individuals or groups based on appearance, political beliefs, gender identity, to name a few.

Last week, groups assailed Makati police “profiling” of transgender people in a so-called “Oplan X-Men.”

Read: Groups condemn discrimination vs. transgender, push for passage of SOGIE bill

Profiling to justify more attacks

 

Bayan Muna Rep. Eufemia Cullamat said such profiling may be used to justify graver rights abuses.

Citing her own experience, Cullamat said the Lumad suffered the same profiling before their ranks were attacked and killed. This, she said, must be stopped immediately.

Salinlahi, for its part, said, “profiling may also be deliberately used by police authorities as a tool to target students and organizations in high schools, colleges and universities that are critical to government policies; or as a further basis for subjecting innocent individuals to unwarranted arrest, detention or worse to extra-judicial killings as we have witnessed under the war on drug campaign of the current administration.” ()

Share This Post