Senator Robinhood Padilla has proposed a bill to recognize the right of Muslims and Indigenous Peoples (IPs) to have proper burial grounds in public cemeteries.
In filing Senate Bill No. 1273, Padilla said many Muslim Filipinos go through difficulty of sending the remains of their loved ones to Mindanao, which is costly and complicated for the family members.
He said Muslims observe specific customs, including the immediate burial of the remains without cremation, autopsy, or delay.
"All of these burial ceremonies are traditionally valid in expressing our identities as Filipinos such that the existence of several Filipino burial ceremonies across the country amplifies the richness of our culture," Padilla said in his bill.
Under the proposed measure, public cemeteries will determine the size of the burial grounds for Muslims, IPs and other denominations. If the portion is insufficient, the local government unit may acquire land, and a Filipino citizen may donate.
The establishment shall be created in highly urbanized cities, independent component cities, and provinces.
Padilla converted to Islam in the 1990s.—Sherylin Untalan/LDF, GMA News