The National Commission on Muslim Filipinos through the Bureau of Muslim Cultural Affairs recently conducted the 43rd National Qur’an Reading Competition on April 1-2, 2017 (5-6 Rajab 1438H) held at Microtel, UP Techno Hub, Commonwealth Avenue, Quezon City for the Opening Ceremony and at the UP Bahay Alumni, Diliman, Quezon City for the Competition proper.
On the first day of April 1, 2017, it was attended by the Ambassadors of Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh and diplomats from some Embassies, including leaders of the Muslim communities and representatives from various government offices.
The Opening Ceremony was graced by the Secretary on Overseas Filipino Workers, ABDULLAH D. MAMA-O as Guest of Honor and Speaker.
There were 38 contestants/readers, all aspiring to be the winners of the 43rd National Qur’an Reading Competition, 19 Qari (Male) Readers and 19 Qari’ah (female) readers.
On the second day of April 2017, was the Competition Proper, was attended by an estimated number of 1,500 Muslim Filipinos residing in Metro Manila and those coming from as far as Mindanao witnessing this momentous event at UP Bahay Alumni. It was the day when all contestants showcased their talents as Qur’an Readers, and it was Mr. Numan Pimbayabaya, 2015 NQRC Champion, who was announced as winner for the Male category and Ms. Rahima Panondiongan, 2015 NQRC Champion for the Female category also declared as winner as certified by the Chairman of the Board of Tabulators, Basher M. Tomilang, and the Chairman of the Board of Judges, Commissioner Abdulwahid I. Inju.
Thereafter, the Awarding Ceremony was held at Microtel, Techno Hub for awarding of prizes to winners from 1st place up to 5th place. This was graced by His Excellency HAMAD SAEED HAMAD OBAID ALZAABI, Ambassador of United Arab Emirates as Guest of Honor and Speaker.
The NQRC have also encountered challenges. One of which is the Terms and Conditions embodied in the guidelines released by the organizer of International Qur’an Recitation and Memorization Assembly (IQRMA), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, particularly Item No., 07 which clearly states that only candidates who did not participate in this assembly for the last three (3) years are eligible to participate. The Bureau of Muslim Cultural Affairs informed the audience during awarding ceremony that since both declared Champions are not qualified, both 2nd Placers for Male and Female categories, instead, shall be the representatives for the International Qur’an Recitation and Memorization Assembly (IQRMA) on Category: Al-Qur’an Recitation scheduled on May 15-20, 2017 at Putra World Trade Center, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
There was unprofessional reaction and resistance from the Champions because they were affected by the terms and conditions of the above-cited terms and conditions. They were insisting to take the risk to be able to represent the country as the Philippine representatives for the IQRMA. But NCMF-BMCA has to abide by the rules imposed by the host country.
For now, the Commission, through Management Committee (ManCom), authorized the Director of Administrative Service ABDULLAH S. MACARIMPAS to act as mediator for the concerned parties to understand the issue and amicably agree. Hopefully, this issue will be resolved soon IN SHA ALLAH as this Commission is committed to protect the interest of every participating Qur’an Reader.