Senate urged to pass National Hijab Day bill

Shared by Omar A. Mandia
Assistant Hajj Attaché, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Published in MALAYA BUSINESS INSIGHT by By Wendell Vigilia – February 2, 2023

BASILAN Rep. Mujiv Hataman yesterday urged the Senate to pass the House-approved National Hijab Day bill, saying “it will be a big win in the fight against religious discrimination.”

Hataman, a former governor of the now defunct Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and the principal author of House Bill No. 5693, made the appeal as the World Hijab Day was celebrated Wednesday.

“As we commemorate World Hijab Day with the rest of the world, it is my sincerest prayer that this measure passes the Senate’s scrutiny. We hope this time around, this becomes enacted so by next year, we’ll be celebrating National Hijab Day,” Hataman said.

Hataman’s office, in cooperation with the House committee on Muslim affairs chaired by Lanao del Norte Rep. Mohamad Khalid Dimaporo, prepared a short program at the House of Representatives to commemorate this year’s World Hijab Day.

The event, which was held at the North Wing lobby, was graced by Speaker Martin Romualdez and Reps. Yedda Marie Romualdez, Linabelle Ruth Villarica and Bai Dimple Mastura, another principal author of HB 5693.

Representatives from the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos and the UP Institute for Islamic Studies were also present during the event.

Under HB 5693, which was approved on third and final reading in November last year, February 1 of every year is declared as National Hijab Day. It also mandates the government to launch an awareness program on the practice of wearing a hijab by Muslim women.

It has already been transmitted to the Senate, the version of which has already been approved at the committee level and waiting for second reading deliberations in plenary.

According to the bill, a “hijab” refers to “a veil that covers the head and chest, which is particularly worn by a Muslim female beyond the age of puberty in the presence of adult males outside of their immediate family.”

Objectives of the bill include: to encourage Muslim and non-Muslim women to wear the hijab and experience the virtue in wearing it, to remove the misconception of wearing the hijab as a symbol of oppression, terrorism and lack of freedom; to stop discrimination against Muslim hijab, to protect the freedom of religion and the right of Muslim women to practice their religion, to promote and deepen understanding amongst non-Muslims the value of wearing a hijab as an act of modesty and dignity of Muslim women, to promote appreciation for diversity in expression of one’s self, and to promote tolerance and acceptance of other lifestyles amongst the citizenry.