Filipinos will soon have digital access to Sharia courts, should a bill filed by Senator Robin Padilla be passed into law.
Padilla, in filing Senate Bill 2462, sought to amend some provisions of Republic Act 9997, the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos Act of 2009, to make Sharia courts more accessible to Filipinos.
“This measure also introduces provisions for the creation of a digital platform that allows the paperless filing of routine documents to and from Shari’a courts.”
“This measure also introduces provisions for the creation of a digital platform that allows the paperless filing of routine documents to and from Shari’a courts, as well as the collection of statistical data for Muslim Filipinos at the national, regional, provincial, city, and municipal levels. To ensure that all citizens of this country are able to access an effective, efficient, and non-discriminatory legal system, the passage of this measure is earnestly sought,” the legislator said in his bill.
“Many Muslim Filipinos face difficulties in availing of Sharia court services due to lack of funds and knowledge in submitting documents.”
The lawmaker pointed out many Muslim Filipinos face difficulties in availing of Sharia court services due to lack of funds and knowledge in submitting documents. Another challenge is the lack of Sharia courts especially outside Mindanao.
“Needless to say, these circumstances undermine our country’s commitment to promoting fair and equal treatment to all of its citizens under the law,” the senator said.
Under the bill, the NCMF and Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) will work with the Supreme Court in establishing a digital platform for the “paperless filing” of documents including marriage, birth and death certificates, along with the collection of appropriate fees.
The NCMF will also help in the submission of legal documents related to cases before the Sharia court. It may also enter into public private partnership projects for Muslim Filipinos.
Also, the NCMF’s Bureau of Legal Affairs will ensure equitable access for mga Muslim Filipino in Sharia courts, and establish a mechanism for the submission of legal documents to Sharia courts.