Lawmaker seeks dedicated cemeteries for Muslims | Inquirer News

Lawmaker seeks dedicated cemeteries for Muslims

/ 05:18 AM August 19, 2022

Hataman on Bongbong Marcos Sona

(FILE) Basilan Rep. Mujiv Hataman

Basilan Rep. Mujiv Hataman introduced a measure that would require all localities with a considerable number of Muslim residents to set up cemeteries that would enable believers in the Islamic faith to observe their tradition of burying their dead within 24 hours.

In filing House Bill No. 3755, or the proposed Muslim Filipino Public Cemeteries Act, Hataman said: “According to our faith, we need to bury our dead within 24 hours. Muslim families have undergone difficulties in observing this tradition due to the absence or distance of Muslim cemeteries. They often needed to travel far just to be able to bury their dead … You are already grieving over the loss of a relative which would be worsened by the difficulty of finding a proper place to bury them.”


A similar bill, HB 2587, authored by Lanao del Sur Representatives Zia Alonto Adiong and Yasser Alonto Balindong, has been referred to the House committee on Muslim affairs.


The lawmakers explained: “In Islamic traditions, the burial of a deceased person is a collective obligation of the Muslim community. This obligation involves the ritual washing of dead bodies, shrouding the body with cloth and the Salat al-Janazah, or the funeral prayer.”

“In Islam, it is important that burial takes place as quickly as possible after death. It is also forbidden for the body to be desecrated and, as such, cremation, autopsies and delay of burial are not allowed,” they explained.

READ: Manila breaks ground for first Muslim cemetery

In seeking the measure, Adiong and Balindong said: “At present, it is difficult for Muslim Filipinos to bury their dead, due to the lack of public cemeteries that cater to their needs, in accordance with their belief and traditions. Most of the time, they are forced to transport their dead to their hometown in Mindanao, which is quite costly and difficult for the bereaved family members.”

Both HB 2587 and HB 3755 would make mandatory for all local governments to set aside land, depending on the size of their respective Filipino Muslim populations, for the establishment of public cemeteries for Muslims.

Hataman cited data from the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos which placed the total population of Muslim Filipinos at around 12.7 million, where over a hundred thousand live in each region, outside Mindanao, except in the Cordillera Administrative Region where there were 39,503 recorded Muslim residents.


Under Hataman’s proposed measure, all cities and municipalities within the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao would be required to allocate a minimum of 2 hectares of suitable land as public cemeteries for Muslim Filipinos.

For Metro Manila, where there is an estimated 500,000 Muslims, the bill would require at least 3,000 square meters of suitable land to be used as Muslim cemeteries for each locality, although property outside of Metro Manila within reasonable traveling distance may be procured.

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For cities and towns outside Metro Manila, the following rules would apply: 5,000 sq m if Muslim population is at least 1,000; 3,000 sq m if Muslim population is at least 500; and 2,000 sq m if Muslim population is at least 300.Hataman noted that currently, only Manila, Norzagaray town in Bulacan, and Montalban in Rizal have existing Muslim cemeteries in the National Capital Region and the Greater Manila Area.

TAGS: cemeteries, Mujiv Hataman, Muslim

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