Healing, Freedom and Unity. Sen. Robinhood “Robin” C. Padilla stressed these values Monday as he sponsored a Senate bill seeking to make Feb. 1 as National Hijab Day.
In his sponsorship speech for Senate Bill 1410, Padilla pointed out the bill symbolizes these three – as well as an end to discrimination especially against Muslim women who wear the hijab.
Padilla noted he had witnessed and had heard of stories of various forms of discrimination experienced by Muslim women, just for wearing their hijab.
“Kung kaya naman ako po ay naniniwala na ang pagtulak natin sa panukalang batas na ito para sa kampanya ng pampublikong kamalayan sa kahulugan ng pagsusuot ng hijab ay magiging daan upang sa wakas ay unti-unting maghilom na ang mga sugat na matagal nang iniinda ng ating mga kababaihang Muslim (I believe sponsoring this bill for an awareness campaign on the importance of wearing the hijab would pave the way for the healing of wounds borne by our Muslim women),” he said.
He added the bill symbolizes freedom for women to express themselves without feeling shame or fear from those who “judge” them.
Also, Padilla stressed the hijab is not just a piece of cloth – but is a symbol of respect for Muslim women.
Padilla likewise cited Sec. 5, Art. III of the 1987 Constitution, which guarantees freedom of religion and worship.
“Ginoong Pangulo, atin din pong binibigyang-diin na ang deklarasyon sa unang araw ng Pebrero upang gunitain ang Araw ng Hijab ay sumasagisag rin po sa isang inklusibo at nagkakaisang lipunan (Mr. President, our bid to declare Feb. 1 as National Hijab Day symbolizes our effort for an inclusive and united society),” he said.
“Ika nga po ni Sister Maisara noong nakaraang pagdinig: ito po ay 30 years in the making. Nararapat lamang po na tayo ay magpasa ng batas pangkalahatan na maghahatid ng mensahe ng pagkakaisa at inklusyon para sa lahat ng miyembro ng lipunan, anuman ang kanyang relihiyon, kultura, at paniniwala (As Sister Maisara said in a previous hearing, this measure is 30 years in the making. It is but proper that we pass such a measure to send a message of unity and inclusion for all members of society, regardless of religion, culture and belief),” he added.
Padilla also clarified he does not mean National Hijab Day to be a holiday – rather, it is to raise public awareness of the hijab as we strive to foster a compassionate and inclusive society.
In his sponsorship speech, Padilla noted he was one of five senators pushing for a National Hijab Day – the others being Senators Jinggoy Estrada, Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., Risa Hontiveros, and Lito Lapid.