My personal appeal to President Benigno Cojuangco Aquino, in behalf of my brother Muslims in the country and in the pan-Islamic nations, who are, on this holy occasion of Ramadan and its end, united on the basis of Islamic ideology, is for the adoption of a truly meaningful Muslim policy in the Philippines.
Permit me to cite at least two items which can fall under such a policy.
First a background: I went to the University of the Philippines for the following reasons: to pursue knowledge having known UP as the fountain of knowledge in our country: second, UP being the seat of academic freedom; finally, the UP being an institution of religious tolerance- where main religions are represented in the main campus in Diliman.
It is sad to note however, that in this institution, my alma mater, Muslims, students and professionals through the years, if not decades, have been appealing to the University authorities for the grant of a piece of land to build their mosque. Sad to say, up to now, these appeals have fallen on deaf ears, despite the continuous appeals and advocacy of UP Muslim students and alumni for several decades. Meanwhile, the Catholic Church and the Protestants have been given space for their chapels by UP authorities while Islam has not been allotted the same treatment.
The last appeal was written and presented in person by the undersigned as President of the Parhimpunan Sin Islam, which has sought the approval of the President of UP, Dr Alfredo Pascual and the members of the Board of Regents through him.
Second, and corollarily to the above, we appeal to the national government under President Benigno Cojuangco Aquino, to seriously consider the appointment or representation of Muslims in the Philippines, being the largest minority in the country, to wit: Muslim appointment to the Supreme Court, Muslim representation in the Cabinet regular department level, and Muslim ambassadors to Muslim countries, Muslim representation in the National Economic Development Authority and the National Security Council.
Previous Presidents Diosdado Macapagal, Ferdinand Marcos and Corazon Aquino, being sensitive to Muslim constituents numbering more than 10 million now, have made historic Muslim appointments to their respective Cabinets, in regular departments of government, while President Cory Aquino appointed the first Muslim Justice in the Supreme Court.
Third, we continue to advocate the regional representation in the Senate just as I have advocated in my campaign platform when I was a candidate for the Senate in 1995. Then Senatorial Candidates Juan Ponce Enrile and Aquilino Pimentel endorsed this particular proposal.
To this day, however, the present administration, unlike past administrations has yet to ensure representation of Muslims in important posts in the government. For the sake of unity and justice, we therefore appeal to President Aquino to do justice to Filipino Muslims just like his predecessors.
Our last appeal as Muslims is for the President in the last two minutes of his watch like in a basketball game, to solve the Muslim armed struggle to its finality.
ALMARIM CENTI TILLAH
Parhimunan Sin Islam