COTABATO CITY, Maguindanao: Shari’ah law experts have given assurance that their justice system will apply only to Muslims in the proposed Bangsamoro Region. The system will protect religious free-dom and it does not prejudice Christians, indigenous peoples, and other non-Muslims living in the re-gion.
In a recent forum conducted by the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) in partnership with the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) among Bangsamoro Shari’ah lawyers and the academe, Shari’ah expert lawyer Ubaida Pacasem emphasized that the Shari’ah sys-tem in the Bangsamoro will apply only to Muslims as had been practiced since the Islamic justice was adopted and made part of the Philippine judicial system in 1977.
Pacasem, who is also chief of the Legal Division of the NCMF’s Cotabato City office, said all Bangsamoro residents are assured that the regional government and judicial system will respect their religion.
Pacasem also disproved the misinformation circulating that the Bangsamoro government will be an Islamic State.
“The proposed Bangsamoro is not even a separate state, much less an Islamic State. It shall be an au-tonomous region with a government exercising genuine political autonomy where all peoples regard-less of religion and cultural affiliation shall be respected,” said Pacasem.
It can be recalled that Shari’ah courts were established in the Philippines as early as 1977 through Pres-idential Decree 1083 issued by the late President Ferdinand Marcos – preceding the crafting of the proposed BBL by nearly 40 years – and were later incorporated into the 1987 Constitution.