COMMONWEALTH AVENUE, Quezon City: The National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) is alarmed and deeply concerned with a recent wave of arrests of Muslims in Metro Manila and the nearby provinces.
NCMF Commissioner Yusoph J. Mando told the Philippine Muslim Today that based on the police report, the recent offensive involves elements of the National Intelligence Coordinating Council (NICA), the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO), and the NCRPO Regional Force Battalion which jointly raided a construction site known as Yuking Construction, Inc. in Barangay Mambog 4, Bacoor City, Cavite.
According to Mando, a number of construction workers were reportedly arrested merely based on raw information of an alleged presence of Abu Sayyaf terrorists in the area.
He said in the early dawn of 17 February 2021, some workers were preparing for their usual daily tasks while others were praying their dawn Fajar prayers when the site was raided.
He said workers of the said site including the wife of a welder, a nutritionist, who is bound for abroad were held at gunpoint by the raiding team.
Quoting witnesses, Mando divulged that non-uniformed men entered the property. Adding, those arrested were nowhere to be found as of press time.
Commissioner Mando also emphasized “my office considers the arrest and detention of poor Muslim construction workers appalling and a violation of human rights. Under the cover of being tough on crime, some law enforcers are targeting Muslims as part of a strategy that relies merely on suspicion just because they are Muslims.”
As this developed, the NCMF commissioner called for the immediate release of those workers who are not in any way connected with any crime and the prosecution of those who are proven to be in conflict with the law.
“It is unfortunate that those wrongfully arrested have allegedly been maltreated despite introducing themselves as mere poor construction workers who just want to provide sustenance for their families,” he added.
Mando continued, “they were arrested, handcuffed and were brought to a still unknown place.”
“Without doubt, there is an urgent need to strengthen law enforcement capabilities and support these to adequately and effectively contain the menace of terrorist acts for the preservation of national security and the promotion of general welfare. I am therefore appealing to the Muslim communities to police their ranks and not to be infiltrated by anyone perceived as an enemy of the state so that those who just wanted to earn an honest living and to make both ends meet for their families will not get affected.” Mando concluded.
It can be recalled, aside from advancing the interest and welfare of Muslim Filipinos, Commissioner Mando is very active in peacebuilding acivities being the current spokesperson of Yes for Peace – Bayanihan ng Bayan, a consensus building and people’s participation advocacy campaign that has engaged over 15 million Filipinos across the Philippines since it was initiated in 1988 by students of the University of the Philippines System in Diliman. Quezon City.
(JULMUNIR I. JANNARAL/PMT/SRNY/RSP)