House bill seeks to set up Muslim cemeteries in all municipalities

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 19) — A House bill filed on Wednesday seeks to mandate local government units (LGUs) to establish Muslim cemeteries in all municipalities to “preserve the sanctity of Islamic belief and culture of honoring the deceased.”

Basilan Rep. Mujiv Hataman said part of Muslim burial rites requires the deceased to be laid to rest within 24 hours after passing.

The solon explained that it has become burdensome for Muslims to practice the tradition for lack of Muslim burial grounds.

“Proper and accessible burial grounds for Muslim Filipinos remain a difficulty for most Muslim Filipinos because of a lack of nearby Muslim cemeteries," Hataman said.

”Many are forced to travel long distances to bury their dead," he also said. "For families of the deceased, this lack of burial space compounds grieving.”

According to the proposed measure, two hectares of land should be allocated for burial sites in cities and municipalities inside the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

For cities or LGUs inside Metro Manila, a minimum of 3,000 square meters of land should be set aside for the same purpose.

The bill, however, states that LGUs in Metro Manila are allowed to procure space outside the region due to limited space in the metropolis, provided that the location is accessible to residents.

For areas outside the National Capital Region and BARMM with a Filipino Muslim population of over 1,000, a minimum of 5,000 square meters of land should be allocated.

The measure also states that the LGU will shoulder expenses in cases where the deceased’s family member or immediate next of kin is an indigent.