Coast Guard allows hijab as part of official uniform | Inquirer News

Coast Guard allows hijab as part of official uniform

The Philippine Coast Guard has allowed its female personnel to wear hijab as part of their official uniform ahead of World Hijab Day on Feb. 1.

According to the PCG, the new policy allowing the wearing of hijab was implemented on Jan. 25 in deference to the traditions of Islam which requires Muslim women to cover themselves in public and in the presence of nonfamily members or persons allowed to see Muslim women without cover.

Members of the Muslim community in the PCG are hoping that the inclusion of the hijab in the official PCG uniform would encourage more Muslim women to join the Coast Guard workforce.


Still pending

The PCG said the new policy was based on the memo/proposal of PCG Command Imam Capt. Alicman Borowa to the agency’s uniform board to include the hijab in the uniform of female Muslim personnel.


“[U]niformed service like the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police, as well as other countries like New Zealand, United Kingdom and the United States of America have already initiated to include hijab as part of their authorized uniform for Muslim personnel in their respective ranks,” Borowa said in his memo.

As of March 2021, there were 1,850 Muslim PCG personnel and some 200 of them are women.

PNP public information chief Brig. Gen. Roderick Augustus Alba said that while the use of hijab as part of the police uniform was still pending before the National Police Commission, the Bangsamoro regional police already encouraged all of their female police officers to wear hijab.

The wearing of hijab is also protected under the Republic Act No. 7610, or the Magna Carta of Women, passed in 2009.

Muslim religious leaders suggested that the PNP allow the use of hijab to encourage more female Muslims to join the police force, which is dominated by males.

‘Hijab contingent’

In 2019, the Zamboanga regional police office formed its own “hijab contingent,” composed of 33 Muslim female police officers clad in traditional white hijab in their PNP uniforms.


During the 2019 Southeast Asian Games held in the country, Muslim police officers wearing hijabs and taqiyas (skullcaps worn by male Muslims) were specifically deployed in the billeting areas of athletes from Muslim countries such as Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Every year on Feb. 1, World Hijab Day is celebrated to recognize the millions of Muslim women who choose to wear the hijab and live a life of modesty.

The annual event, which started in 2013, also encourages women, regardless of religious beliefs, to wear and experience the hijab for one day. This allows non-Muslim women to understand the essence of covering and religious freedom.

The idea came from Nazma Khan, a Muslim woman and social activist from New York.

World Hijab Day also aims, through awareness, education and empowerment, to help dismantle bigotry, discrimination and prejudice against Muslim women.

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In 2018, World Hijab Day Organization became a nonprofit organization.—With a report from Inquirer Research

TAGS: Coast Guard, hijab, uniform

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