MANILA-- A Senator on Monday appealed to the public not to discriminate against internally displaced persons from Marawi that seek temporary shelter from nearby cities amid the ongoing conflict in their city.
"I appeal to the public not to stoke the flames of Islamophobia. Discrimination breeds hate. It builds walls. It sustains unjust wars," Sen. Risa Hontiveros said in a statement coinciding with the celebration of Eid'l Fitr.
Hontiveros made this appeal citing reports that a number of Maranaoans have complained of discrimination noting that some house and apartment owners in nearby provinces have refused to rent out their properties to them.
She said that she understood the public's security concerns, but 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 neophyte senator also 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," added.
Hontiveros, meanwhile, lauded the eight-hour truce implemented by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in Marawi City in observance of the celebration of the end of Ramadan.
She also commended the AFP for its decision to spare mosques from military attacks despite reports that some mosques are being used by the Maute group as hiding places.
Source: Philippines News Agency