The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Monday opposed the proposed identification card (ID) system exclusively for Muslims, saying it is “discriminatory.”
During the Mindanao Hour news briefing in Malacañang, AFP spokesman Restituto Padilla Jr. said the crisis in Marawi City was “not a religious war” and that “not all Muslims are part of the rebellion.”
“When we start checking identification of individuals, it should not be aimed at certain sectors of our society but it must be applicable to everyone. Because everyone may look like an ordinary civilian, but they may not be who they say they are. So it’s good and it is logical to always check on the identities of everyone in your line that you are about to check,” he said.
Padilla said the military will only support the implementation of a national ID system for all Filipinos.
“We are a strong proponent of the national ID system. And if that can be pushed, and I think congress is pushing it, that would be some of the best measures that we can take,” he said.
He issued the statement after Human Rights Watch (HRW) said the local government in Paniqui, Tarlac has imposed an ID system for Muslims and other towns have been urged to do the same.
The proposal will cover around 26,000 Muslims in Central Luzon, the HRW said.
“The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and other human rights treaties to which the Philippines is a party prohibits discrimination based on religion. The IDs could also violate the rights to equal protection of the law, freedom of movement, and other basic rights,” the group said.