Kawagib Moro Human Rights secretary general Bai Ali Indayla (Zea Io Ming C. Capistrano/

DAVAO CITY — Wearers of burqas from the Muslim community will be asked to remove the face cloth as part of the strict security protocols in the city.

Public Safety and Security Command Center chief, retired General Benito de Leon said those who have covered their faces will be checked by authorities for identification.

“If you cover your face, then you will be checked. I’m sorry with our Muslim brothers or Muslim sisters, because if they cover their face, with what do you call that? Hijab… If you are wearing a cap and shades in airports, you are asked to remove them so that the CCTV and the guards could verify your identity,” he said.

A hijab is a headscarf or veil worn mostly by Muslim women that covers the head and neck, but leaves the face clear. City Information Officer Jefry Tupas clarified the official is referring to burqa, which covers the face of the wearers, and not hijab.

Ustadz Mahmoud Adilao, regional chairman of the Ulama League of the Philippines said only policewomen can inspect the Muslim women and it is prohibited for policemen to frisk them.

He also said that hijab can be checked, but removing it is prohibited. Adilao also said that the cover on the arms and feet of the Muslim women should not be taken off.

“Ok lang sa mukha lang, pero hindi pwede yung ulo tanggalan ng hijab at tsaka yung bukton at tsaka yung tiil (It’s okay to check the face, but you must not remove the hijab from the head and the cover in the arms and feet should not be removed),” he told Davao Today in a phone interview Wednesday.

He said that they do not see a problem with the inspections conducted by the police because the situation calls for it.

Adilao also called on the Muslim community to understand the situation and to not panic during inspections.

“Di ta mabalaka, dili ta mataranta kung mag-inspect. Tagaan nato og pagtugot ang authority nga makainspect sila (We should not worry, we should not panic during inspections. Let us allow the authorities to do their job),” he said.

Meanwhile, Bai Ali Indayla, secretary general of Kawagib Moro Human Rights organization said before it’s implementation, the local government should consult it first with Muslim organizations.

“We hope there will be a consultation to get the side of the Moro people who have long been discriminated in the war against terror,” she said.

Indayla said any policy should ensure that no cultural or religious belief is violated, especially the belief of the Moro people who are vulnerable to human rights violations.

“The suspects in the Davao bombing may really wear anything to hide their identity, but the policy of the government should be clear to avoid discrimination and abuses against the Moro people,” she said.

De Leon said security forces are also implementing the practice in malls. He said motorists wearing helmets, and individuals who are wearing masks and bonnets will be asked to remove the covers.

On September 7, authorities released the digital and the artist sketch of a man wearing a face mask who is the prime suspect in the Davao blast. (

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