Malacañang has no policy on women wearing burqa
Malacañang has no policy against guests wearing a burqa, a garment that except for her eyes covers a Muslim woman from head to foot, the head of the Presidential Security Group said Thursday.
Brig. Gen. Ramon Dizon pointed this out when asked if there were special security measures for guests wearing the flowing, heavily concealing black dress.
The security concern was raised when one of the guests during the oath-taking by members of the legislative assembly of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) attended the rites in a burqa.
A woman in a burqa was recently removed from a venue of US President Obama’s reelection campaign. She was reportedly heckling Obama when security personnel took her away from the arena in the Virginia Commonwealth University.
Malacañang sources said she was one of the guests of those who took his oath before President Benigno Aquino III on May 8. She was among those that shook President Aquino’s hands during the ceremonies.
“No, it’s not a problem in this case,” Dizon told the Inquirer in a text message.
Dizon said all the guests had been screened before entering Malacañang and no risk to the President had been established.
One of the standard operating procedures during such rites in the Palace is the submission of names of the guests of those who would be taking their oath before the President.
The list of guests is usually submitted to Malacañang days before the event.
X-ray, metal detectors
Asked if guests wearing burqas posed a problem in Malacañang, Dizon said, “Maybe if they were many and there’s no way of getting positive identification, and they didn’t pass through the X-ray and metal detectors.”
Secretary Edwin Lacierda, Aquino’s spokesperson, said security protocols had been followed.
“All guests were screened before entering the Palace following established protocols. There was no risk to President Aquino,” Lacierda said in a text message.
“Even with covered faces, identity was established and no deadly weapons were found in her bag or on her body,” he added.
Dizon was one of those who took oath before the President that day as he got his first star as a brigadier general.
Another notable member of the military who was sworn in that day was Lt. Gen. Jessie Dellosa, Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff, who got his fourth star.
Twenty-seven members of the regional legislative assembly of the ARMM and 29 star-rank officers in the military took their oath in Malacañang that day.
The members of the caretaker regional legislative assembly were Rajam Akbar, Jarah Hamja and Juni Raheid Ilimin of the lone district of Basilan; Ziaur Rahman Adiong, Majul Gandamra and Rasol Mitmug of the first district of Lanao del Sur;
Yasser Balindong, Stiie Norhanie Lao and Alexander Menor of the second district of Lanao del Sur; Suharto Ibay, Arafat Kusain and Romeo Sema of the first district of Maguindanao; Rahima Alba, Khadafeh Mangudadatu and Bassir Utto of the second district of Maguindanao;
Nedra Burahan, Mahendra Madjilon and Satrina Tulawie of the first district of Sulu; Abdel Anni, Irene Pungutan-Tillah and Bhydir Sarapuddin of the second district of Sulu; Rodolfo Bawasanta, Dayang Sangkula-Jumaide and Nurjay Sahali of the lone district of Tawi-Tawi.
Sworn in as sectoral representatives were Samira Gutoc for women; Deonato Mokudef for indigenous cultural communities and Yasir Naga for the agricultural sector.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.