FOURTEENTH CONGRESS OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES First Regular Session ) 1 7 JLL -4 fi ’!:i I’ ) Introduced by Senator Loren Legarda EXPLANATORY NOTE: This bill seeks to create a National Commission on Muslim Filipinos that will take over the present functions of the Office on Muslim Affairs to promote more independence, autonomy and governmental assistance in the implementation of economic, educational, cultural, and infrastructure programs for Muslim Filipinos. Section 5, Article I11 of the 1987 Constitution provides that the free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall forever be allowed. This State policy had been pronounced even during the Freedom Constitution of 1937 under President Corazon Aquino when Executive Order No. 122-A was promulgated Creating the Office on Muslim Affairs (OMA). OMA was mandated to preserve and develop the culture, traditions, institutions and well-being of Muslim Filipinos in conformity with the country’s laws and in consonance with national unity and development. Nearly twenty (20) years into the implementation of the law, the OMA is more popularly known for its involvement in the yearly pilgrimage to Mecca or Hajj, rather than its over-all mandate. There is a need to amend its charter to expand its present mandate to address the diverse needs of some 10 million Filipinos comprising 14% of the Philippine population. This bill seeks to do that by creating a National Commission on Muslim Filipinos with an expanded mandate to include not just preserving and developing the culture, traditions, institutions and well-being of Muslim Filipinos, but likewise to coordinate and consult with various government agencies, and oversee the proper implementation of all laws and policies that affect Muslim Filipinos. This proposed measure likewise tasks the Commission to undertake Halal certification and regulatory activities in coordination and prior ccjiLsultationwith the National Meat Inspection Commission prior to its implementation. Finally, the Commission shall promote and supervise the implementation of the Madrasah education system throughout the country, except in ARMM. In view of the importance of this proposed legislation to the growth and development of Muslim Filipinos in the country, immediate passage of this bill is earnestly sought. LOREN LEGARDA Senator

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