MPD Chief Balba apologizes to Muslim Community over student ‘profiling’

Sultan Kudarat Maguindanao— The Manila Police District (MPD) on Wednesday apologized to the Muslim community over the issuance of a memorandum seeking to compile a list of Muslim students in high schools, colleges, and universities in Metro Manila, an report said on March 4.

During a meeting of the House special committee on peace, reconciliation, and unity, MPD District Director Brig. Gen. Bernabe Balba admitted that there was a “flaw in the communication” in the release of the said memorandum which drew flak from the public—including several House lawmakers.

 “We, at the Manila Police District, deeply regret this lapse in communication and we have resort to the more careful and more diligent in textualizing our message—whether it be internal or external—to avoid the same gap in the future,” Balba said as quoted by

Deputy Speaker and Basilan Rep. Mujiv Hataman and Anak Mindanao Rep. Amihilda Sangcopan condemned the directive and questioned the motive behind it.
The Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) Parliament also passed a resolution condemning the memorandum order.

Hataman said that typecasting Muslims as possible terrorists and listing down all their names for a possible watchlist “is one of the greatest failures of police intelligence in our history.”

“This is the flaw in our communication that has stirred an alarm and concern among our Muslim brothers and sisters. For this reason, we express our deepest apology to them for causing them any apprehension and with this communication flaw,” the quoting Balba saying.

“We truly regret that this has happened and this has never been our intention. The MPD is committed to upholding the constitutional rights and welfare and to provide our Muslim communities in Manila with the police protection and security they need against all forms of threats,” he added.

According to Balba, the National Capital Region Police Office issued a memorandum to all district directors cascading a request from the Salaam Police Center (SPC) for statistical information on Muslim students enrolled in various high schools, colleges, in Metro Manila.

“The purpose of the said request was for the Center to develop the necessary planning and preparations for conducting a series of seminars and information campaign for this segment of the student population about the PNP’s initiatives aimed at promoting cultural sensitivity as well as enhancing the safety and security of our students on campuses across the metropolis,” Balba explained.

According to Balba, the SPC wanted to collect the following information — the name of the school, the school’s address and location, name of principal/president/chancellor with contact number, the total number of Muslim students, gender, and grade/year level.

The MPD chief told reporters that the said memorandum did not ask for the identities of the Muslim students.  

The memorandum has since been recalled following the orders of Police Maj. Gen. Debold Sinas, chief of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO).