TASK Force Davao Commander Colonel Darren Comia said they have proposed an integration program for the Muslim converts or "Balik-Islam", whom he claims continue to be a neglected part of the Muslim community.
Comia describes these individuals who are formerly catholics, protestants, Ilonggo, Ilokano, Tagalog, and Cebuano that have converted to Islam.
“Yong kinakausap kasi natin itong mga Deputy Mayors ng ating Muslim communities or tribes, nakita ko na naay isang sector na murag nabilin sa ubos, yong isang sector na ito is balik-Islam (When we talked to our Deputy Mayors of the Muslim Communities or tribes, I found out that balik-Islam remains at the bottom),” Comia said during an interview with the Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR).
He added, “And would you imagine, biskan tong NCMF (National Commission on Muslim Filipino) nga card, nga nanghihingi sila, itong mga kapatid nating mga balik-islam hindi sila bigyan, which because again, walang parameters doon na balik-islam, hence neglected ang term ko (They can’t even avail the NCMF Card, because there are no parameters for balik-Islam. That’s why I say they are neglected).” Comia said in an interview with Disaster Radio.
Comia said this sector has a population of around 3,500 to 5,000 in Davao City.
“They can go to Muslim areas community to pray because religiously they are allowed or to any mosque, however they cannot go to any communities because culturally they cannot go the six Muslim communities, because they are not born and raise as such, however hindi narin sila makabalik sa kanilang (they cannot go back to their) Christian life because they already a Muslim, Islam in religion,” Comia said.
According to Comia, he wants to help in uplifting the lives of the "Balik-Islam" individuals.
“Ang gusto lang naman natin dito is mawala lang yong neglect, na kinahalang gyud e-mainstream nato tanan na sector, apil natong mga vulnerable sectors, na kung saan kailangan natin magkaroon ng equality, pantay-pantay na pagtingin (What we want here is them to not be neglected. We want to include all sectors for equality),” Comia said.
To address this, Comia said he has proposed to outgoing Mayor Sara Z. Duterte-Capio an integration program for the Balik-Islam individuals that will be implemented through the Muslim Affairs Office.
“Kaya nga nong nag-request tayo kang maam Inday, sumagot sa atin si maam Inday na ‘no objection’, and sa pagkakaron atong gihimo, nagpo-formulate na tayo ng mga implementing rules and regulation, ma-institutionalize na itong balik-islam community, kung diin pwede na sila matagaan og tanang serbisyo sa gobyerno, ipa-prioritize na sila, kasama ang six muslim tribes and five IP tribes ng ating lungsod (The mayor did not object when we requested for a program for the balik-Islam community. Right now, we are formulating the implementing rules and regulations so we can institutionalize the balik-Islam community. We hope to provide them access to government services),” Comia said.
Meanwhile, Comia said that there are nine communities under Balik-Islam, which they called Jama’a. Although the members are dispersed, gradually they are locating them. Furthermore, Balik-Islam Council is already SEC-registered and has by-laws and a constitution.
May 24, 2022
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