Move to ban religious icons irked councilors-A A +A
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
SOME members of the Davao City Council expressed displeasure over the House bill banning religious icons in government offices.
Councilors Melchor Quitain and Pilar Braga argue that displaying any religious icons, or even holding religious rites and ceremonies are not against any provisions of the Constitution.
Kabataan party-list Representative Raymond Palatino filed House Bill 6330, or the Religious Freedom in Government Offices Act, in a bid to ban all religious symbols as well as display of religious rites and ceremonies inside government offices all over country.
"There is really a separation between the church and state, but you cannot separate God from the state," Quitain told reporters in the regular session on Tuesday, adding he is a devout Catholic.
Quitain is one of the senior members of the 16th Davao City Council known for his knowledge on law and the Constitution being dean of the University of Mindanao (UM) College of Law.
Braga said she is alarmed that the party-list representative who is pushing for the bill is supposed to be representing the youth.
"Kung mag ampo mi diri ug Minoslim, nilumad, naa bay madehado (If we will pray the Muslim or even lumad way, would that cause injustice to people)?" Braga lamented.
Braga added that if the display of any religious image is prejudicial to the people, then she herself will be the one to propose a law to ban it. She said, however, that whatever angle or perspective she looks at it, she sees no rationale for such a ban.
Meanwhile, City Mayor Sarah Duterte-Carpio earlier said members of the House of Representatives, like Palatino, should focus their attention to more important issues like poverty alleviation rather than tinker with traditions that is not causing any harm.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on June 20, 2012.