Police crackdown on transwomen and Muslim students must stop

Amnesty International Philippines

Media Quote

21 February 2020

Responding to the police crackdown on transwomen and profiling of Muslim students, Section Director Butch Olano said:

“Profiling entire communities solely on the basis of a single identity – whether based on gender, race or religion – supposedly in the name of curbing crime only fuels hate towards particular groups of people and intensifies fear of the police.

“The Makati police’s round-up operations targeting transwomen and the NCRPO’s profiling of Muslim students leave too many holes where peoples’ rights may be violated without sufficient accountability. It is imperative for the chief PNP to ensure that his officers are held to the highest human rights standards for law enforcement, and to look into police activities that are obviously discriminatory in nature and only serve to instigate transphobia and Islamophobia.

“What the police is doing in Metro Manila is a lazy way of preventing crime and discriminates entire communities by violating the constitutionally protected actions of individuals, solely on the basis of the criminal actions of a few.”


On February 14, a transwoman was “invited” to a Makati police station allegedly under instructions to bring transgenders in for profiling under “Oplan X-Men”. Earlier in January, a transwoman experienced the same procedure when Makati police officers invited her and her companion where they were asked to fill out an intake form and their mugshots taken.

A total of 67 individuals were said to have been rounded up under “Oplan X-Man”. The Commission of Human Rights and LGBTQIA+ groups condemned this operation as targeted harassment, calling it “a blatant form of targeted harassment against trans women”.

Meanwhile in Manila, Police Chief Bernabe Balba signed a memorandum on 31 January ordering station commanders to submit an updated personal information of Muslim students in high school, colleges, and universities. After groups decried the memorandum, Manila Police district issued an apology.