THE Department of Education (DepEd) on Tuesday reiterated its policy of respecting the religious rights of students including the right of female Muslim school children to use hijab (veil) inside campuses.
Education SecretaryArmin Luistro ordered all school divisions to protect and respect the religious rights of students through DepEd Order No. 32 series of 2013.
Under the order, Muslim girls shall be allowed to wear appropriate clothing during Physical Education (PE) classes in accordance with their religious beliefs. Moreover, Muslim students shall not be required to participate in non-Muslim religious rites.
“These measures are part of our continuing thrust to make education universal, inclusive, and embracing of all faith,” Luistro said.
The Philippine Constitution guarantees the rights of citizens to freedom of religion and non-discrimination on the basis of sex, religion, creed, or color.
While DepEd supports and promotes the right of Muslim women to wear hijab or veil, it does not compel them to wear it.
The department however asked Muslim teachers to remove their veils inside the classroom so that students can identify them and to promote better teacher-pupil relationship. The teachers can wear ustadja (veil that covers the whole face) outside the classroom.
Neil A. Alcober