Koko Pimentel vows to continue bridging Christians and Muslims
MANILA, Philippines — As a Christian senator representing Mindanao, former Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III repeatedly supported the right of Muslims to practice their faith. He has also steered key legislation to provide for certain Islamic customs and traditions.
In a Facebook post, Pimentel cites four vital areas of Muslim culture that he has championed through the years. These are the halal industry, the practice of barter for business transactions, the release of cadavers within 24 hours of death, and most significantly, the Bangsamoro Organic Law, which he co-authored.
“Our Muslim brothers and sisters are of great importance to me,” he states in the post. Pimentel is seeking reelection in the coming May 13 polls and consistently scores high in surveys.
The revival of barter in Mindanao has been promoted by President Rodrigo Duterte to address gaps of traditional financial institutions in volatile regions. Pimentel shares in the belief that barter would revive employment and business opportunities, as well as open up new trade corridors for Muslim populations of ASEAN countries including the Philippines.
Muslim families were also given special consideration in claiming the cadavers of relatives released from morgues, clinics, and mortuaries within 24 hours, as prescribed by Islamic custom. In the past, remains were held indefinitely pending the settlement of unpaid bills.
Pimentel has also been an ardent proponent for the successful passage of his co-authored Bangsamoro Organic Law. A voice of reason and prudence, he has continuously stressed that any measure granting autonomy to the concerned regions of Mindanao must be guided by the “supreme law” of the Constitution.
Halal is the set of Islamic guidelines for the preparation of food that is also popular with non-Muslims due to its healthier products that have no alcohol or pork ingredients. It is set to become a $3 trillion global industry by 2021. (Editor: Cenon B. Bibe Jr.)
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