Press Release
June 26, 2017


Coinciding with the celebration of the end of Ramadan, Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros on Monday appealed to the public not to discriminate against internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Marawi who are seeking temporary shelter in nearby cities after fleeing the armed conflict between government troops and the Maute terrorist group.

Hontiveros said that there were reports that a number of Maranaos have complained of discrimination. They said that some house and apartment owners in nearby provinces have refused to rent out their properties after learning of their identities.

"I appeal to the public not to stoke the flames of Islamophobia. Discrimination breeds hate. It builds walls. It sustains unjust wars," Hontiveros said.

Hontiveros said that while she understands the public's security concerns, she warned them not to mistake discrimination for vigilance. "This is the time for unity and solidarity. Amid these challenging times, we should not give in to our fears and prejudice. Let us not play into the script of the Maute terrorists, who want to sow fear and hate between Christians and Muslims," she said.

The Senator urged appropriate government agencies to look into alleged cases of discriminatory practices against people displaced by the Marawi crisis, particularly Filipino-Muslims. "The Duterte government must ensure that the well-being of all internally displaced persons are taken care of, including their protection from all forms of discrimination. They have suffered so much. Let us not add to their pain," she said.

Hontiveros lauds military

Meanwhile, Hontiveros lauded the 8-hour truce implemented by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in Marawi City in observance of the Eid'l Fitr. She also commended the AFP for its decision to spare mosques from its military attacks. This despite reports that some mosques are being used by the Maute group as hiding places and vantage areas to launch sniper attacks.

"I laud the AFP for exercising religious sensitivity even as it continues with its effort to defeat the Maute terrorist group. I hope that this series of good gestures from the military will extend to heeding the Filipino-Muslim community's call for an end to the indiscrimate aerial bombings," Hontiveros said.

"Even without Martial Law, I am confident that our brave and professional soldiers will be able to eliminate the terrorist threat in Marawi while respecting the cultural and religious sensitivities of our Muslim sisters and brothers," Hontiveros concluded.

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