'Noble initiative': PNP chief sees nothing wrong with listing of Muslim students
Photo shows Gen. Archie Gamboa, PNP chief, answering questions about the reshuffle of key PNP officials during a press conference at Camp Crame. With him are Lt. Gen. Camilo Cascolan and Maj. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar.
The STAR/Michael Varcas, File
'Noble initiative': PNP chief sees nothing wrong with listing of Muslim students
Gaea Katreena Cabico (Philstar.com) - February 21, 2020 - 4:41pm

MANILA, Philippines — The country’s top cop saw nothing wrong with the memorandum ordering the police to compile a list of Muslim students in Metro Manila, calling the controversial initiative “noble.”

Gen. Archie Gamboa, Philippine National Police chief, said the memorandum aims to facilitate dialogue with Muslim communities “so that we can thresh out problems related to peace and order.”

Gamboa said the PNP leadership supports the initiative of reaching out to Muslim youth in the capital region.

“By consolidating the Muslim youth mass base for purposes of possible mobilization in future police-community affairs programs, we are, in effect, facilitating better understanding of the uniqueness and complexities of the different belief systems in a multi-faith society by promoting healthy discussions and exchange of opinions through the Saalam Police Centers,” Gamboa said in a statement Friday.

Salaam Police Centers are in charge of monitoring and liaising activities with Muslim communities in addressing terrorism and lawless violence to ensure that Muslims are not discriminated and oppressed.

The memorandum issued by the Manila Police District ordered district commanders to list Muslim students in high schools, colleges and universities in Metro Manila—a move seen to promote discrimination and risk the safety and security of Muslim youth.

The profiling was part of the police’s measures to strengthen peace building and counter violent extremism, the memorandum read.

“The PNP believes that this simple gesture of respect and consideration for others is the true essence of peace and religious freedom, guaranteed by the state as a sovereign right of every peace loving Filipino,” Gamboa said.

The police chief also urged the public to be “more circumspect” in interpreting the order.

The Bangsamoro Transition Authority passed a resolution Friday, condemning what it called a “prejudicial treatment” of Muslim youth.

“Through this memorandum, the Manila Police District implies that young Muslims are potential violent extremists who require more scrutiny and attention from the law enforcement group. The Muslim youth is subjected to this intrusion due to their religious affiliation, which is a form of discrimination,” BTA said.

Moro-Christian People’s Alliance and Sandugo-Movement of Moro and Indigenous Peoples for Self Determination said the move is “plain discrimination and terror-branding.”

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