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SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau

House designates prayer room for Muslim Members, employees for the duration of Ramadan
21 March 2023 10:03:59 PM

FOR the first time in the history of the chamber, a prayer room for Muslim members, employees, and even guests of the House of Representatives has been designated and opened in time for the observance of the Holy Month of Ramadan.

Conference Room 6 in the Ramon V. Mitra Building has been set aside and designated as a Muslim prayer room starting Tuesday and until the end of Ramadan next month.

Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez said he was very pleased to attend the simple opening ceremonies prepared by the House Committee on Muslim Affairs led by its chair Rep. Khalid Dimaporo and vice chair Rep. Bai Dimple Mastura.

“I am extremely grateful to be a part of this very wonderful and noteworthy undertaking of providing a space for our Muslim brothers and sisters to freely exercise their faith, especially during this Holy Month of Ramadan that we all know is very sacred to them,” Romualdez said.

“This is also a recognition of the free exercise of religion and belief of all Muslim Filipinos as enshrined and protected under our Constitution. The more we understand and recognize the religious diversity of the people, the closer we get to eliminating the biases that fuel discrimination in our country,” he added.

Mastura, representative of Maguindanao and Cotabato City’s 1st District, personally made the request for the prayer room to the Speaker in the plenary on the sidelines of the approval on third reading of the P5.268-trillion General Appropriations Bill (GAB) for 2023 last September 28, 2022.

The Muslim prayer room initiative was facilitated by Speaker Romualdez and his wife, Tingog Party-list Rep. Yedda Marie K. Romualdez and Tingog Party-list Rep. Jude Acidre upon the request of lawmakers led by Mastura.

The opening and ribbon-cutting ceremonies were attended by Acidre, Members of the Committee on Muslim affairs and imams from the National Commission for Muslim Filipinos (NCMF), along with other guests such as Bai Hasmin Ebrahim, the regional chairperson of Tingog Party-list in Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

“In the House of Representatives, we have Muslim Members. The chamber also employs a significant number of employees practicing the Islamic faith. It appears that in the House alone, we are a microcosm of Philippine society in terms of religious diversity,” Speaker Romualdez continued.

“I do hope and pray that this simple gesture of designating a prayer room for our Muslim brothers and sisters will send a powerful message to all Filipinos that here in the House, we respect all religious faith. This is the legacy we want to leave in the 19th Congress,” he added.

Muslims pray five times every day, even while fasting during the Holy Month of Ramadan.

“We are all proud of what we have achieved here and may this be the first of many undertakings to recognize the faith and belief of our Muslim brothers and sisters. Thank you for allowing us to be a part of this event,” Speaker Romualdez said. (END)