9August

Moros hit Urdaneta City Mayor for racist policies

A Pangasinan-based Luwaran correspondent reported that Urdaneta Mayor Amadeo Gregorio Perez IV ordered the clearing of the city of Muslims residents due to alleged involvement of some in illegal drugs trade. The mayor gave the Muslim resident three weeks to leave Urdaneta.

The correspondent told Luwaran that Mayor Perez IV made the announcement during Monday’s flag raising ceremony. He instructed barangay officials and the local police to enforce his order.

City Police Chief Supt. Marcelino Desamito was ordered to monitor all hotels and restaurants here after reports said these establishments were allegedly being used in illegal drug activities.

The correspondent also told Luwaran that Mayor Perez IV also asked the Sangguniang Panlungsod to enact an urgent ordinance to disallow Muslims from moving to the city, the correspondent told Luwaran.

The order to drive out Muslims from the city prompted Moro leaders and civil society organizations to condemn the discriminatory act and urged Mayor Perez to show restraint in dealing with his constituents saying the ‘act of one, is not the act of all”, referring to alleged involvement of some Muslim residents in illegal drug trade.

Gov. Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao told The STAR he was saddened by the order of Mayor Perez to have Urdaneta City cleared of its Muslim residents.
 
“It is unthinkable that there are local government officials who would take action based on prejudice instead of evidence, and would blindly uproot families from their homes rather than address the root of criminality itself,” Hataman said, as quoted by The Star.
 
Hataman and other ARMM officials branded the supposed order an affront to the avowed interfaith and cross-cultural inclusivity policy of President Rodrigo Duterte in addressing national concerns.
 
"We understand that the government is working hard at every level and is doing everything that is necessary to rid the country of the drug problem, but this does not give any official the license to abuse his authority and go beyond the rule of law, not to mention the bounds of reason and common sense, especially when it leads to human rights violations," Hataman said in a statement to the media.
 
He said that he and other ARMM officials are inviting Urdaneta City officials to a dialogue. He added that the ARMM Goverment will coordinate with the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos "to ensure that our Muslim brothers and sisters will not be treated like criminals simply because of their faith, and that they will not be treated unfairly at any point during the course of the national and local government's campaign against illegal drugs", Hataman also said in his statement to the media.

The barangays of Poblacion, Pinmaludpud, Camantiles, San Vicente, Bayaoas, Anonas, Dilan Paurido, Nancayasan, and Nancamaliran East and West are identified by the Philippine Drugs Enforcement Agency (PDEA) where Muslims are predominant and suspected as haven of drug pushers and users.