(a) Provide advice and assistance to the President in the formulation, coordination, implementation and monitoring of policies, plans, programs and projects affecting Muslim Filipino communities; when so authorized, represent the President on matters concerning Muslim Filipino communities; serve as a link between the President and public or private agencies, internal or external, that are involved in such programs and projects; and recommend such affirmative actions as may be necessary for their efficient and effective implementation;

(b) Undertake and coordinate development programs and projects for the advancement of Muslim Filipino communities, including designing, implementing and maintaining settlements for Muslim Filipino communities: Provided, That the Commission shall not take jurisdiction or ownership over lands, and bodies of water traditionally and actually occupied by indigenous peoples and within the identified ancestral domains of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples: Provided, further, That lands may be identified by the Commission for the purpose of settling the homeless and displaced Muslim families to improve the conditions of the members of the Muslim communities;

(c) Act as the primary government agency through which Muslim Filipinos can seek government assistance and redress; serve as the medium through which such assistance may be extended to Muslim Filipinos; for this purpose, the Commission is hereby authorized, subject to existing auditing rules and regulations, to give grants-in-aid out of its appropriations or other appropriate funds to cooperating government agencies for such programs or projects for the development of Muslim Filipino communities; provide services including legal assistance, medical aid, relief, rehabilitation and other forms of assistance for socioeconomic upliftment of Muslim Filipino communities;

(d) Participate in the peace process involving conflicts between Filipino Muslim groups and/or individuals and the government in cooperation with appropriate agencies, individuals and institutions. Pursuant hereto, the Commission’s Secretary or his/her duly designated representative shall sit aa a regular member of the government’s peace panel negotiating peace with the Muslim Filipino groups or individuals;

(e) Enter, subject to existing laws, policies and guidelines, into contracts, agreements or arrangements with government or private agencies/entities as may be necessary to attain the objectives of the Commission;

(f) In accordance with existing laws, rules and regulations and subject to guidelines provided by the Office of the President, promote and enhance the development of domestic trade and commerce among the members of the Muslim Filipino communities; promote or facilitate the establishment by members of the Muslim Filipino communities joint venture and investments in cooperation or coordination with existing public enterprises, corporations or private entities; initiate and/ or organize, in accordance with pertinent laws, rules and regulations, enterprises based on the principles of Islamic business and finance for the benefit and welfare of the Muslim Filipino communities;

(g) Recommend to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) the proposed expenditure for the development of all Muslim Filipino communities;

(h) Promote and develop the Philippine Halal Industry and accredit halal-certifying entities/bodies for the utmost benefit of Muslim Filipinos and in partnership or cooperation with appropriate agencies, individuals and institutions here and abroad;

(i) Develop criteria for allocating additional resources for education, economic and cultural development programs;

(j) Monitor and evaluate the performance of all existing policies and development programs of the government that seek to strengthen and uplift the socioeconomic conditions of Muslim Filipinos and identify areas that need government intervention and support;

(k) Acquire, lease or own property or assets in whatever form as may be necessary, and sell or otherwise dispose of the same, and serve as the custodian or administrator of such lands or areas and other properties or assets the President may reserve for the benefit of Muslim Filipino communities;

(l) Solicit and accept grants, donations and gifts, in cash or in kind, in whatever source, in coordination with the appropriate agency for the benefit of the Muslim Filipinos, and administer the same in accordance with the terms thereof, or in the absence of any condition, in such manner consistent with the interest of Muslim Filipinos as well as existing laws;

(m) Undertake studies, establish and maintain ethnographic research centers and museums on the cultures and institutions of Muslim Filipinos for policy formulation and program implementation and for the purpose of preserving their historical heritage;

(n) Certify, whenever appropriate, membership of persons in Muslim Filipino communities for purposes of establishing qualifications for specific requirements of government and private agencies or for benefits as may be provided by law;

(o) Provide legal and technical services for the survey, adjudication, titling, and development of Muslim Filipino ancestral lands and settlements proclaimed by the government for the Muslim Filipinos;

(p) Assist the National Statistics Office (NSO) in conducting census on the actual population of Muslim Filipinos in the country;

(q) Administer all programs, projects and activities, formulate the necessary rules and regulations, and coordinate with pertinent offices to ensure the success of the annual Hajj (pilgrimage) to Mecca, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia;

(r) Promote the development of a Hajj Assistance Fund that shall be created from contributions of Muslim Filipinos and other donors which shall be used to support the financial needs of deserving Muslim Filipinos intending to participate in the annual Hajj;

(s) Administer and hold in trust awqaf (endowment) properties and/or awqaf institutions, and receive by way of grant, donations or gifts, awqaf investments in accordance with the principles of Islamic investments and finance;

(t) Prescribe rules and regulations for the establishment of awqaf institutions, administration of awqafassets, and settlement of disputes among awqaf beneficiaries pursuant to the general principles of Shari’ah(Islamic Law);

(u) Formulate and adopt continuing programs and activities to strengthen Madaris (plural of Madrasah) schools, Islamic Studies, and Shari’ah and Islamic jurisprudence, in coordination with appropriate agencies of the government;

(v) Promote and supervise, in coordination with appropriate agencies of the government, the implementation of the Madrasah education system throughout the country except in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) where the system shaU be implemented and supervised by the Department of Education-ARMM; and provide assistance in the expeditious accreditation of Madrasaheducational institutions with the appropriate agencies of the government:

(w) Ensure that the curriculum of the Madrasah education system shall conform with the basic curriculum of the national formal education system which, along with teachings on Arabic Language, Islamic Studies, and Filipino and Islamic Values shall include, among others, the subjects on Filipino and English Grammar and Usage, Philippine History and Geography, Science and Technology. Mathematics, Physical Education and Sports Development, and Vocational Education to secure the local and international competitiveness of Muslim Filipino graduates from the Madrasah educational institutions;

(x) Develop criteria for the grant of local and foreign scholarships and the selection of deserving students and teachers of Madrasah and other educational institutions;

(y) Provide and/or facilitate access to local and foreign scholarships to deserving Muslim Filipinos in coordination with formal educational institutions here and abroad;

(z) Ensure the continuous transfer of technology to Muslim Filipino communities to uplift the quality of life of Muslim Filipinos;

(aa) Promulgate such rules and regulations and exercise such powers and functions as may be necessary to carry out the purposes and objectives outlined in this Act; and

(bb) Perform such other functions as may be necessary for its effective operations and continued enhancement as a government entity.