Manila breaks ground for first Muslim cemetery, cultural hall
QUEZON CITY, July 29 (PIA) – The City of Manila government held a groundbreaking ceremony for the first Muslim Cemetery and Cultural Hall at the Manila South Cemetery recently.
Manila City Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso and National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) Secretary Saidamen Pangarungan graced the occasion. The City of Manila LGU has allocated Php49.3 million for the project, encompassing 2,400 square meters with 378 tombs and a mosque.
Mayor Isko Moreno came up with the idea last year upon hearing that Filipino Muslims who have passed away have to be transported to burial places in Bulacan, Taguig, or even Mindanao due to the absence of a burial place in Manila.
“It is hereby declared the policy of the City Government of Manila to confer recognition to the Muslim community in Manila with their inherent cultural attributes and customary traditions, especially in terms of caring for the remains of their departed, by defining a burial ground in the South Cemetery and a special body intended to manage it,” his Ordinance 8608 said.
Further, Mayor Isko highlighted the need to preserve the Muslim Filipino culture in Manila because of its historical significance to the city’s existence.
This is to pay tribute to the historical contributions of Muslims in the nation’s capital prior to the arrival of Spanish colonizers, which was then ruled by rajahs and sultans – such as Rajah Sulayman, Rajah Matanda and Lakan Dula.
The project also came just about the right time in this pandemic when there were reports on some LGUs refusing entry to cadavers of Covid-19 cases for burial or cremation purposes, as well as LGUs with identified Muslim cemeteries who restrict the burial of a Muslim who died as a suspect or a confirmed Covid-19 case.
The NCMF chief is grateful to the Manila City Government and Mayor Isko for prioritizing the cemetery which would benefit Muslim communities in the area and the surrounding regions.
“This is a collective effort of the NCMF and the Manila City LGU, and success is guaranteed only with everyone’s support,” Pangarungan said. (MCG/PIA-IDPD/NCMF)