MAGUINDANAO: Officials and local chief executives in this province assured their full support to the proposed regional law that would realize the establishment of Muslim public cemetery in all towns of Maguindanao and in the entire Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
Members of the Regional Legislative Assembly (RLA) led by Assemblyman Khadafeh Mangudadatu, author of RLA Bill 04, which requires all barangay, municipal and provincial governments in ARMM to provide lots for Muslim public cemeteries, held its first public consultative meeting in Buluan town on February 22
Maguindanao Second District Assemblyman Mangudadatu, the author, said “the bill is also envisioned to provide a mechanism and system of identification by establishing a regionwide database of names, date of death and place of burial of all deceased.”
Statistics on the country’s Muslim population are often based on estimates that are weak basis for planning of strategic development interventions, an explanatory note on the bill said.
Muslim Mindanao comprising of more than 100 towns traditionally bury the corpse of their beloved ones to their privately owned farms and sometimes near to their homes without death certificates. Problems arise when the families sell their farms, with the buyers given right to tinker with the graves, observers said.
Mayor Freddie Mangudadatu, provincial mayor’s league president, urged his colleagues to enact the bill’s intents, citing irregularities of issuance of death certificate.
“Most of Muslims here, with exception to others, are requesting death certificate only to claim their Social Security System benefits,” said provincial mayor’s league president Mayor Freddie Mangudadatu.
Upon presentation of the proposed regional law, it said “the bill is also seeks to establish a regional cemetery authority or office to supervise the administrative operation of cemetery properties.”
Local folks suggested that Darul Ifta (Islamic house of opinions), a group of Muslim clerics which seeks to be institutionalized in the region, would be the suitable group to administer the cemeteries, citing Imams (cleric) have no “formal incomes” as they depend on “zakat [charity].”
Assemblyman Rene Midtimbang, who presided the consultation with Assemblyman Mangudadatu welcomed all the inputs that was raised during the meeting.
Gov. Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu of Ma–guindanao alongside his constituents, members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan and local chef executives had assured to support in full the enactment of the proposed bill.