Davao City disuades citizens from covering face in public places

The Mindanao Examiner Regional Newspaper - - First Page - (Malou Cablinda)

DAVAO CITY – The local government of Davao City has urged Muslims to use hijab instead of niqab and burka, and citizens not to wear masks that cover the face, especially in public places, following a deadly terrorist bombing recently that killed 15 people and injured over 70 others.

Citizens are also disuaded from wearing sunglasses, hats, balaclava, and face paint, among others that tend to hide their face.

Mayor Sarah Carpio, who is also President Rodrigo Duterte’s daughter, said law enforcement authorities recommended the strict security measures after a man, wearing a bonnet and mouth mask, detonated an improvised explosive device at a night market along Roxas Avenue on September 2.

“The law enforcement officers have expressed their opinion that it would be a good security practice to disallow garments that cover the faces in public places. These garments include hats, sunglasses, facemasks, mouth masks, burqa, face paint, and other similar things.”

“I understand the sentiments of our Muslim sisters with regard to the burqa, may I suggest that you wear the hijab which shows your face or cooperate with the security personnel and show your face if you are wearing the burqa.while it is true that these garments are not disallowed by law, we discourage their use in public places,” Carpio said.

The mayor also offered some P3 million bounties for anyone who can help identify the bomber.

Authorities have linked the militant group Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters to the attack, but its spokesman, Abu Misry Mama, strongly denied the accusation. Police and military investigators found fragments of mortar bombs in the area.


Communist rebels negotiating peace with Manila have blamed the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and rightist groups opposed to Duterte’s rule for the daring attack.

Siegfried M. Red, a spokesman for the Communist Party of the Philippines, said the CIA instigated the bombing. “The bombing was carried out and masterminded by no other than the world’s greatest terrorist – the US imperialist hegemony which is threatened by the Duterte government’s positive gestures toward the country’s anti-imperialist revolutionary forces and Duterte’s consistent pronouncements against U.S. intervention in Philippine affairs,” Red said in a statement sent to the regional newspaper Mindanao Examiner.

“The heinous attack in downtown Davao City, home to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, was clearly the handiwork of peace saboteurs, ultra-rightists AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) cliques, and big drug lords — all anti-duterte forces that conspire with U.S. imperialism to subvert the Duterte government. The September 2 bombing is wrought by the bloody hands of the U.S. war machinery’s black operations,” he added.

Red said the attack had the signature of the CIA.

“It is hardly coincidental that initial investigations have found similarities on the explosion device used on Friday’s bombing to the explosives found in the wreck of CIA agent Michael Meiring’s hotel room in Davao City and the ones used in the Davao International Airport and the Sasa Wharf bombings in March and April 2003 respectively,” he said.

Red was referring to the American national who was wounded in an accidental explosion while assembling improvised bombs at Evergreen Hotel in May 2002. Meiring, who had links with Muslim rebel groups in Mindanao, was rescued by U.S. agents from the Davao Medical Mission Hospital and smuggled out of the country in a private plane.

He said: “Duterte himself, has been a witness to how the U.S. terrorist network and its puppet fascist reactionary wreaked havoc in Davao City more than a decade ago. Disgruntled junior officers of the AFP divulged that the Us-arroyo regime masterminded the (previous) bombings that killed 38 and wounded 180 people.”

The Abu Sayyaf has claimed responsibility for the bombing, but later on denied as behind the attack. It earlier threatened to attack military and civilian targets and said the Abu Sayyaf will bring the war on Duterte’s soldiers.

Red also alleged that the CIA is backing the Abu Sayyaf to stir anti-muslim sentiments in the Philippines. “A Cia-backed terrorist group was quick to admit its responsibility in the bombing, a scripted rejoinder to sow further enmity against majority of Muslims who want just peace. U.S. imperialism has always employed terror tactics to stir anti-muslim sentiments and prelude its greater military intervention in countries that challenge its dominance and exploitation,” he said.

He said washington and its rightist and militarist cliques in the Philippines are opposed with Duterte’s peace talks with the communist rebel group New People’s Army and its allies, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and Moro National Liberation Front.

“Clearly, US imperialism and its rightist and militarist cliques in the country are not happy with how the Duterte government is shaping its pro-peace governance as shown in the great strides in the peace negotiations between the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front, and as demonstrated by Duterte’s peace overtures with the MNLF and MILF,” Red said.

He said communist rebel forces are supportive of Duterte’s peace process and ready to fight U.S. intervention and peace saboteurs in the Philippines. “The CPP supports the resounding call of the Filipino people for a just and lasting peace. It is prepared to command the Red fighters and enjoin all revolutionary forces to defend civilians against attacks from US war hawks, peace saboteurs, rabid rightist cliques of the AFP and PNP, and other fascist enemies of the people,” Red said.

There was no immediate statement from the U.S. Embassy or the Philippine government on these allegations, but Filipino journalists also received text messages from their cell phones, saying the CIA was behind the bombing to sabotage Duterte’s peace efforts.

“Good evening everyone, I do not believe the Davao bombing was ASG (handi)work. May(roon) earlier warnings daw to the younger (Davao City Mayor Sarah Duterte-carpio and Vice Mayor Paolo) Dutertes. Pag ASG, I am sure di na mag-warning pa. I think there is now a rightist operation aided by the CIA to sabotage PRRD (President Rodrigo Roa Duterte). There might be more (bombings) in the near future,” the message said, which came from an unknown person.

Duterte has declared a state of lawless violence in the Philippines following the bombing. And Washington quickly condoled with the families of the victims and offered to assist the Philippines in the investigation into the attack.

The United States also offered to help in the investigation into the bombing, but Duterte rejected this, saying, the local police can handle the probe.

(photo by Najib Zacaria)

Peace rally in Marawi City in Lanao del Sur province.

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