Senator Robin Padilla has asked his fellow senators not to mention any religion-related terms and practices during Senate sessions and hearings.
Padilla made the appeal after the word “Ramadan” was mentioned in an interpellation during the plenary session on Wednesday, Aug 17,, when senators were talking about an instance where abused overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in the Middle East felt that they were not properly fed during the holy month.
“Ang Ramadan po eh parte po yan ng five pillars ng Islam… Kailangan po nating linawan: ito yung mga ganitong usapan po na nadadamay yung salitang Ramadan sa ganitong usapan, [mas]ki ito po ay positibo, kesa ito po ay negatibo, basta sumama po sa ganitong usapan, hindi po naayon (Ramadan is part of the five pillars of Islam. We need to make it clear: in this kind of discussions where the term is used, whether it’s positive or not, is not appropriate),” he said as he turned emotional.
“Iwasan na po natin na mailagay ‘yung mga salitang may kinalaman yung religion, yung practice ng religion sa ganitong usapan sapagkat ito po ay televised (Let’s avoid using terms and practices related to religion because we are being televised),” he added.
As senators raised concerns over the plight of Filipino domestic helpers in Arab countries, Padilla said maltreatment is not part of Islam’s teachings.
Padilla, a Muslim, said he felt hurt after learning that countries Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and UAE were among the places where abuses against Filipinos occurred predominantly.
“Meron lang po akong gustong linawin. Ang mga ganap na ito ay hindi po katuruan ng Muslim. Wala po ito sa katuruan namin. Katunayan, ang turo po sa amin ng Propetang Mohammad, kailanman kahit sinong tao dapat tratuhin mong pantay-pantay (I want to make one thing clear. These are not what Islam teaches. Islam and the Prophet Mohammad teach us to treat everyone equally),” he said.
Thus, Padilla also asked his fellow senators to just use the term “Arab countries” or “Arabs” everytime they talk about the matter to refer to areas or persons behind the plight of the abused OFWs.