Mayor Joseph Estrada and Manila Police District (MPD) Director Joel Coronel met with Muslim leaders to discuss peace and order in Quiapo, days after explosions rock the district leaving two dead and scores injured.
Estrada vowed to go after those responsible for the blasts.
On April 29, 14 people were injured when an explosive went off in Quiapo just as leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations were holding a summit in Pasay City. On May 8, twin blasts again rocked the district, killing two persons and injuring six others.
Estrada said the search for the perpetrators will continue. At the same time, he gave assurances that the rights of those living in the Muslim community will be respected during police operations.
“Please be assured there will be no discrimination. We are not targeting any specific ethnic or cultural group. Only criminals will be pursued and our Manila police have every intention of abiding by the rules of procedure when doing their jobs,” he said.
The mayor and Muslim leaders also agreed to fight illegal drugs.
“We will ensure constant coordination with concerned community leaders and barangay officials. This is especially true for police operations centered on individuals and groups identified as involved in illegal drug trade,” Estrada said.
The mayor is set to appoint Hajji Moh’d Ersad Mali as adviser and head of the Manila Muslim Affairs Office.
Coronel said they will respect Muslim customs and traditions during police operations.
“Peace and order efforts will now be synchronized and integrated with the Office of the Mayor. We are very thankful that Muslim leaders agreed to provide us information not only related to the Quiapo blasts but also on the prevention and suppression of crimes in the area, to include illegal drugs,” Coronel said.
Grand Imam Solaiman Sarangani said they appreciated the mayor’s move to reach out to them.
“I wish this occasion will be held more regularly to promote peace and unity. This is supported by the whole [Muslim] community,” he said.
“We are thankful to Mayor Estrada since he opened the doors of the city hall for us Muslims. We were waiting for this moment,” he added.
Aside from Sarangani, representatives of various groups such as the Federation of Filipino Muslim Traders Association, Inc. led by Sultan Taher Sultan Adel and the Federation of Muslim Students of Manila led by Alhajib Maujon attended the peace forum on Tuesday.