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APRIL 6, 2016

NR # 4162B

Establishment of a Muslim Filipino Cemetery in Luzon pushed

A non-Muslim lady lawmaker is pushing for the establishment of a Muslim Filipino
Cemetery in Luzon, particularly in her home province of Zambales.
It is but proper to provide a common cemetery for Muslim Filipinos in Zambales (Luzon)
to help preserve the sanctity of Islam belief and culture of honoring their dead, Rep. Cheryl P.
Deloso-Montalla, author of HB 3894, said.
HB 3894, now pending with the Committee on Muslim Affairs chaired by Rep. Tupay T.
Loong of Sulu, is entitled An Act establishing a Muslim Filipino Cemetery in the province of
Zambales and appropriating funds therefor.
The site of the proposed Muslim Filipino cemetery shall be identified by the National
Commission on Muslim Affairs (NCMA) in coordination with the concerned local government
unit within ninety (90) days from approval of the Act.
The funds needed for the maintenance and operation of the said cemetery shall be sourced
from the General Appropriations Act of the year following the enactment of said law.
Maintenance and operation of the cemetery shall be under the direct supervision and control of
the NCMA or its future derivative, the author explained.
Explaining the wisdom behind her bill, she cited Section 5 of the Bill of Rights of the
1987 Philippine Constitution which provides that the free exercise and enjoyment of religious
profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall forever be allowed.
In pursuance of this constitutional mandate, the State shall guarantee the rights and wellbeing of Muslim Filipinos with due regard to their beliefs, customs, traditions and institutions
thereby giving them the opportunity to contribute to nation-building, she stressed.
The lawmaker noted that Muslim Filipinos observe traditional rites to honor and bury their
dead, including funeral procession and mourning practices.
They observe the Sunna which is the rigid conduct of Islam of their traditional festival
and ceremony for the dead, she said, adding that in Mindanao, the Kubul (grave) is found in lots
allotted by a Muslim Filipino family as burial site for their demised family member.
Acknowledging that Muslim Filipino communities thrive not only in Mindanao but in
Luzon and the Visayas as well, the lady lawmaker particularly noted that Muslim Filipinos in
Zambales still have difficulty in burying their dead.
They often have to transport their dead to their native place in Mindanao for their
repose, the author lamented as she expressed confidence that her bill would see the light of day
in the near future. (30) dpt