In the middle of firefighting against a terrorist group in Marawi enters a controversial implementation of a Muslim-only ID in the town of Panqui in Tarlac. Initiated apparently by two local Muslim groups, it was developed as a way to identify individuals with ties to terrorism and to ensure there are no bad elements in their ranks.
Based on reports, the Central Police Director seemed to approve of this measure. While PNP Chief Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa was reported as saying he didn’t see anything wrong with keeping track of newcomers.
Officials from the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) will not have any of it, however, calling the measure a form of discrimination. The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) through its spokesman also decried it, pointing out that checking everyone’s identities and not just a particular sector is actually more logical. Malacanan said that it would rather support the implementation of a national ID over an Muslim-only one. The Human Rights Watch, at least two Senators and a few other government officials have aired their concerns over the idea. A prominent lawyer and human rights advocate cited the different ways that singling out Muslims violates the law and human rights.
To make sense of the furor, we have listed three reasons frequently cited against the idea of a Muslim-only ID.
1. It is a form of discrimination and dehumanization.
It discriminates against people based on religion. Anyone of any religion can become a terrorist after all if they have enough compelling reasons. Many other groups like the New People’s Army often commit terrorist acts yet do we label them as Atheist or Christian terrorists?
2. It violates the law and human rights.
Everyone deserves due process and equal protection under the law. By being a Muslim Filipino an individual might be deprived of certain rights like the right to travel the country freely without being challenged for his or her faith.
3. It will not make us safer.
But it can fan anger, especially among young Muslims who are primary targets for recruitment of extremist groups. It will just perpetuate the false association of Muslims being terrorists.
So, anything else to add to this issue? Are you for or against the Muslim-only ID?
Photo Credit: ARMM Bureau of Public information, photo of an evacuation center in Lanao del Sur
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