Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros 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,” the legislator said.
The lawmaker mentioned 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 terrorist group, who want to sow fear and hate between Christians and Muslims,” the lady senator said.
Hontiveros 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 ended.