URDANETA CITY, Pangasinan: Mayor Amadeo Gregorio Perez 4th has ordered the clearing of the city of all Muslim residents, giving them three weeks to leave Urdaneta in the wake of his intensified campaign against illegal drugs.
The mayor announced the bold step during the flag-raising ceremony on Monday and instructed barangay (village) officials and the police to enforce the order.
Supt. Marcelino Desamito, city police chief, was also ordered to monitor all hotels and restaurants here after reports said these establishments were being used in illegal drug activities.
He requested the Sangguniang Panlungsod to enact an urgent ordinance stopping the entry of Muslims, either to rent a house or stay in hotels or inns in the city.
The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) has identified the drug-infested villages where the Muslims reside--Poblacion, Pinmaludpud, Camantiles, San Vicente, Bayaoas, Anonas, Dilan Paurido, Nancayasan, and Nancamaliran East and West.
Citing a police report that was confirmed by the PDEA chief, retired general Isidro Lapeña, Perez disclosed that at least 84 percent of more than 5,000 Muslim residents here aged 12 years old and above, are into drug peddling.
The report said that most of the crimes—murder, summary execution, robbery and rape—are also related to drugs allegedly being sold like candy by the Muslim drug pushers in the city.
Perez urged owners of apartments and houses being rented by the Muslims to serve them eviction notice, with warning that their business permits will be canceled if they ignore the order.
He admitted that his decision maybe abrasive but said it was the only way to stop the proliferation of illegal drugs here.
The mayor said he realizes that the order will have an effect on the economy of the city as some of them are engaged in legal businesses and paying taxes.
City Election Officer Miguel Bautista told The Manila Times that more than 3,000 Muslim are registered voters and some of them are serving as barangay officials in some of the 34 villages here.
The City Treasurer’s office also confirmed that more than 400 dry goods stalls in the malls and the public markets that are rented or owned by Muslims businessmen.
Meanwhile, two leaders of Urdaneta City Muslim Association (UCMA)--Auman Bayabao and Rinador Badron--said their group started packing their things with their children to relocate to another place in Pangasinan.
City Schools Division Supt. Gloria Torres have said they were willing to issue certificate of transfer to students from the Muslim community who will be affected by the eviction.
Residents of the Muslim compound in Barangay Camantiles last week voluntarily demolished their more than 200 houses upon orders of Perez to end speculations that he was coddling suspected drug pushers in the area.
Clearing operation by the police and PDEA last Friday uncovered a tunnel in an abandoned house believed to be use by suspected drug pushers and kidnappers.
The house was owned by the family of Tom Lomabao, who was killed in June 2013.
Lomabao, according to Badron, is the alleged leader of a gun-for-hire syndicate in Pangasinan and affiliated with a kidnapping group operating in Metro Manila and Cavite, Rizal, Laguna and Batangas provinces.