Escudero seeks creation of interfaith cemeteries in PH

Should he win a Senate seat in the upcoming May 2022 senatorial elections, senatorial candidate and Sorsogon Governor Francis “Chiz” Escudero said he will pursue the creation of interfaith cemeteries nationwide, which he hopes would be institutionalized.

Escudero said the idea is to put all people of faith under one roof in every province and municipality across the country and allow them to bury their loved ones in accordance with their respective customs and traditions.

Sorsogon, he said, hosts two interfaith cemeteries located in the towns of Pilar and Casiguran.

“Nais kong maging institusyonal ang pagtatayo ng (I want to institutionalize the creation of) interfaith cemetery sa mga probinsiya at kabayanan upang maramdaman ng ating mga kababayan ang inklusibong pagkalinga ng pamahalaan nang walang diskriminasyon at pag-aalintana sa paniniwala at relihiyon (in provinces and cities so our people would feel the government’s inclusivity without any discrimination and with respect to faith and respect),”Escudero said.

A veteran lawmaker, Escudero underscored the need for interfaith cemeteries particularly for the indigenous peoples and Muslims communities who strictly observe their funeral rites based on their deep tradition and customs, and religious beliefs.

He also cited the case of Islamic faith, which buries the departed ones within 24 hours after they have passed on according to the Quran and traditional funeral rites.

“Madalas kasi puno na ang mga pampublikong sementeryo at kadalasan din ang may puwang na lang ay ang nasa pribado at semeteryong pang-Katoliko (Most of the time public cemeteries are full and most of the time are private and are exclusive for Catholics),” he pointed out.

“Ngunit kung minsan hindi rin nito daliang natutugunan ang mga pangangailangan at mga rekisitos ng ibang relihiyon at paniniwala (Also most of the time they cannot accommodate the needs and requirements of other religions and faith),” he lamented.

Under his proposed law, Escudero said local government units (LGUs) and heads of various religions will have jurisdiction and supervision of these interfaith cemeteries.

The senator said part of an effective public service is to ensure that all even deceased Filipinos would be given the proper burial rites according to the faith and belief they hold.

“Kay at marapat at dapat lang na magkaroon ng interfaith cemeteries na yayakap at magkakanlong sa lahat ng paniniwala at relihiyon (That’s why it is only right to have interfaith cemeteries that would embrace everyone’s faith and religion),” Escudero stressed.