The proposal to issue identification cards to Muslim member of communities in Central Luzon is not only offensive to the faith, it also violates freedoms that individuals should enjoy regardless of their religion: right to movement, to privacy, of expression, to equal treatment before the law and the right to exercise their faith without fear of reprisal and being singled out.
This proposal, which the regional military and police officials admitted to media was aimed at rooting out terrorist elements, also perpetuates stereotypes against the Muslim community as violent, and a hotbed of terrorism.
It does not help when the president himself blames Muslims for allowing these terrorists to infiltrate areas like Marawi. Such victim blaming only worsens the oppression of othering and marginalization that Muslims face on a day to day basis in the Philippines.
It thus falls upon the Duterte administration to put its efforts into stopping these schemes that do not address the problem of terrorism and has only helped to escalate the violence and the body count. It should order the LGUs, the PNP and the AFP to desist from implementing the Muslim ID system or from replicating it anywhere in the country. It should lift ML in Mindanao which has proven inutile in staming down on the Maute terrorists.
We must remind our security forces that in our earnest zeal to pursue and defeat terrorists, that our responses be strategic and inclusive, sensitive to the beliefs of others, and unburdened by hatred and prejudice. Otherwise we risk running around in blood-soaked circles cycles while the terrorists succeed in dividing and making us live in fear of each other.