A ceremonial signing of Ordinance No. 23-730 titled “The Hijab Ordinance of the City of Isabela” was organized by the Sangguniang Panlungsod, March 31 at Isabela City Hall Lobby.
The signing of the Ordinance, which is a landmark legislation institutionalizing the right of Muslim women to wear the hijab, niqab, or burka in the City was honored by Isabela City Mayor Sitti Djalia Turabin-Hataman, Vice Mayor Jhul Khifli Salliman and Councilor Karel Annjaiza Sakkalahul.
In his opening message, Vice Mayor Salliman, who is also one of the co-authors of the ordinance expressed gratitude and appreciation on behalf of the SP to everyone who contributed to the passage of the law and gave an assurance that the Sanggunian will continue to work on policies promoting and protecting the rights of women.
A presentation of the salient points of the Hijab Ordinance was then delivered by its author and chairperson of the SP Committee on Women, Children and Family Affairs Councilor Sakkalahul.
Meanwhile, Mayor Turabin-Hataman in her message of support conveyed the significance of the Hijab Ordinance as an anti-discrimination and opportunity law and expressed high hopes for the enactment of the National Hijab Day bill as a law, citing the importance of having local counterparts for policies that we want to be implemented, especially for Isabela City which is a multicultural and multireligious community. She also shared about the qualities of a true leader who promotes the welfare, safety and interest not just of a particular sector but of everyone under their responsibility.
An audio-visual message of support was also given by the chairperson of the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Affairs and Gender Equality Senator Risa Hontiveros.
Afterwards, Dr. Alzad Sattar, UP Institute of Islamic Studies Professor and former Member of the Parliament BARMM, talked about the concept of Islamic hijab and the important status of women in Islam as well as their rights and responsibilities.
The program was concluded with a message of gratitude by IPMR Councilor Mary May Julhari.
Also in attendance were councilors and Hijab Ordinance co-authors Alan Ritchie Luis Biel and Bimbo Epping, Atty. Nur-Aiza Gagarra representing the Provincial Government of Basilan, representatives of different women organizations, Hijabi women security forces and city government department heads and select employees. (Words by J. Rojas GAD/photos by M. Santos CIO)