By Ben Rosario
February 1 of each year will be known as the national hijab day under a bill passed on second reading in the House of Representatives during a recent session.
Anak Mindanao (AMIN) Partylist Rep. Amihilda J. Sangcopan said House Bill 8590 is expected to pass final approval before Congress goes on Christmas break this month.
Authored by former AMIN Rep. Sitti Djalia Turabin-Hataman, HB 8590 declares the first day of February as national hijab day as one way of promoting and deepening the understanding of wearing the headdress among non-Muslims.
Sangcopan said hijab refers to a veil that covers the head and chest of a Muslim woman. The person wearing it is referred to as a hijabi.
The headwear is worn by a Muslim woman beyond the age of puberty in the presence of adult males outside of their immediate family. Wearing it is considered an act of modesty and dignity.
According to Sangcopan, the bill also seeks to foster social awareness about the wearing of the hijab and eradicate the stigma attached to such religious tradition.
Lanao del Sur Rep. Mauyag Papandayan Jr., chairman of the House Committee on Muslim Affairs, strongly endorsed approval of the measure to encourage government institutes, private sector and schools to commemorate the event “in a manner that promotes understanding and awareness of Muslim religious and cultural tradition of wearing a hijab.”
Under the bill, the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) is mandated to be the lead agency in the observance of the event and to conduct activities aimed at promoting the wearing of hijab as a lifestyle choice among Muslim women.