The Muslim-Filipino community in the Northern Philippines, particularly in Calabarzon region, have started to distribute identification cards to its 20,000 members to avoid associating them with terrorists operating in the region.
Batangas Muslim Community Leader, Junaid Mangandari, said that the ID distribution will serve as identification purposes to prevent terrorists who have escaped from the Marawi armed conflict from associating with the locals.
Mangandari said that in order for any Muslim-Filipinos in the community to secure ID, they have to be a resident in the Calabarzon region and they must secure first a police clearance certificate from the Filipino National Police office.
There are around 200,000 Filipino-Muslims in Calabarzon region who mostly migrated from Mindanao (Southern Philippines) as a result of their business expansion to the north and established marriage ties with locals in the region.
Muslim community leaders and Imams (Arabic teacher) based in Calabarzon met to formalise their unity in supporting the Filipino National Police public security programs.
Calabarzon Police Chief Director Mao Aplasca hoped that other regions with Filipino Muslim communities may also adopt the same initiative to secure their communities.
The Filipino National Police in coordination with the army has been arresting members of the Maute militant group who allegedly escaped from the war-torn Marawi City due to the military pressure. Moreover, police are on high alert for identifying these militants and prevent them from escaping.
In Mindanao, a number of checkpoints were set up in city borders and the public transport passengers have to present any government-issued identification cards.