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Urdaneta City Mayor Amadeo Gregorio E. Perez IV vehemently denied the reports published by The Manila Times that he ordered a sweeping eviction of all Muslims in his jurisdiction due to drug abuse and other issues.

Apparently incensed by the falsehood and sudden questioning by others, he went as far as threaten legal action against The Manila Times and the article writer.

The original article earned various condemnation– understandable considering its indiscriminate nature.

Pangasinan mayor orders Muslims out of Urdaneta
August 8, 2016 9:30 pm

by JAIME G. AQUINO

URDANETA CITY, Pangasinan: Mayor Amadeo Gregorio Perez 4th has ordered the clearing of the city of all Muslim residents, giving them three weeks to leave Urdaneta in the wake of his intensified campaign against illegal drugs.

The mayor announced the bold step during the flag-raising ceremony on Monday and instructed barangay (village) officials and the police to enforce the order.

Supt. Marcelino Desamito, city police chief, was also ordered to monitor all hotels and restaurants here after reports said these establishments were being used in illegal drug activities.

He requested the Sangguniang Panlungsod to enact an urgent ordinance stopping the entry of Muslims, either to rent a house or stay in hotels or inns in the city.

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) has identified the drug-infested villages where the Muslims reside–Poblacion, Pinmaludpud, Camantiles, San Vicente, Bayaoas, Anonas, Dilan Paurido, Nancayasan, and Nancamaliran East and West.

Citing a police report that was confirmed by the PDEA chief, retired general Isidro Lapeña, Perez disclosed that at least 84 percent of more than 5,000 Muslim residents here aged 12 years old and above, are into drug peddling.

The report said that most of the crimes—murder, summary execution, robbery and rape—are also related to drugs allegedly being sold like candy by the Muslim drug pushers in the city.

Perez urged owners of apartments and houses being rented by the Muslims to serve them eviction notice, with warning that their business permits will be canceled if they ignore the order.

He admitted that his decision maybe abrasive but said it was the only way to stop the proliferation of illegal drugs here.

The mayor said he realizes that the order will have an effect on the economy of the city as some of them are engaged in legal businesses and paying taxes.

City Election Officer Miguel Bautista told The Manila Times that more than 3,000 Muslim are registered voters and some of them are serving as barangay officials in some of the 34 villages here.

The City Treasurer’s office also confirmed that more than 400 dry goods stalls in the malls and the public markets that are rented or owned by Muslims businessmen.

Meanwhile, two leaders of Urdaneta City Muslim Association (UCMA)–Auman Bayabao and Rinador Badron–said their group started packing their things with their children to relocate to another place in Pangasinan.

City Schools Division Supt. Gloria Torres have said they were willing to issue certificate of transfer to students from the Muslim community who will be affected by the eviction.

Residents of the Muslim compound in Barangay Camantiles last week voluntarily demolished their more than 200 houses upon orders of Perez to end speculations that he was coddling suspected drug pushers in the area.

Clearing operation by the police and PDEA last Friday uncovered a tunnel in an abandoned house believed to be use by suspected drug pushers and kidnappers.

The house was owned by the family of Tom Lomabao, who was killed in June 2013.

Lomabao, according to Badron, is the alleged leader of a gun-for-hire syndicate in Pangasinan and affiliated with a kidnapping group operating in Metro Manila and Cavite, Rizal, Laguna and Batangas provinces.

The reporter failed to actually communicate with the mentioned people, according to Perez’s rebuttal.

I strongly deny the statements attributed to me and contained in a news articles in The Manila Times.net entitled “Pangasinan mayor orders Muslims out of Urdaneta” posted on 8 August 2016.

The news article is erroneous and misleading. I was never interviewed by Mr. Jaime Aquino on the said issue. PDEA Director General Isidro Lapeña, City Schools Divison Superintendent Gloria Torres, and Comelec City Elections Officer Miguel Bautista – who were all cited in the article – have also denied being interviewed by Mr. Aquino.

During our flag ceremony last Monday, there was never any mention of the alleged ban against all Muslims in Urdaneta, nor a request to the Sangguniang Panglungsod to pass an ordinance “stopping the entry of Muslims, either to rent a house or stay in hotls or inns in the city” as contained in the news article. The city government employees and barangay officials – who were present last Monday – can attest to this.

The Muslim community has played a pivotal role in the economic development and social advancement of Urdaneta City. They have been our partners in many developmental programs and projects. Our city has progressed due to their contributions.

I am grateful to the support given by the Muslim leaders in Urdaneta City on this issue. I have also taked with the officials of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos led by Regional Director Bai Sinab Maruhom Dimaampao who visited my office and I requested to them to share the truth with their constituents, especially in the social media.

Let me reiterate that there no – and there will never be – ban of Muslims in Urdaneta City. All peace-loving and law-abiding people are welcome to live, study do business in our beloved city.

I am now consulting with my lawyers of my legal options against Mr. Aquino – who clearly has a sinister goal to discredit me – and the Manila Times.

Looks like President Duterte wasn’t wrong about corrupt journalists proliferating.

All other news outlets reporting about the so-called eviction order cited only one article: that of The Manila Times.

No other independent news entity made such interviews, not even video or audio clips, raising suspicion further the article is indeed a malicious fabrication.

How is Manila Times going to teach in their journalism school with this kind of idiocy going around in their ranks?

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