Shared by Omar A. Mandia
Assistant Hajj Attaché, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Published in MANILA STANDARD by Maricel Cruz, February 9, 2023

Deputy Minority Leader and Basilan Rep. Mujiv Hataman has filed a measure seeking to mandate the establishment of Muslim prayer rooms in every government building, hospital and military camp, as well as privately owned establishments such as malls, factories and hospitals.

In filing House Bill 7117, Hataman said that the Muslim population, whose numbers range anywhere from over 6 million to as high as 12 million depending on the source of data, forms a huge and significant part of the Filipino citizenry.

The measure also mandates that a prayer room be established in places enumerated, such as hospitals, military camps, malls, factories and government buildings and facilities. The number of prayer rooms can be increased as the need arises, and to be determined by the implementing agency of the law – the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF).

“As a predominantly Catholic country, many establishments and buildings – be it government-owned, private or for the benefit of the public – have chapels or prayer rooms that cater to the Catholic faithful. In hospitals, government buildings or even malls, there are always areas reserved for their worship,” the bill read.

“The Philippines’ Muslim population … forms a huge and significant part of our citizenry. It is therefore imperative for the free exercise of their Islamic faith that prayer rooms be also made available to them in government institutions and private establishments intended for public use,” it added.

Hataman said there are already prayer rooms in some establishments and malls all over the country.