With the signing of Republic Act 9997 (otherwise known as the Act Creating the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos) last February 18, 2010, the government has indeed re-affirmed its belief on the importance of the active participation of the Muslim Filipinos in nation building with due regard for their beliefs, customs, traditions, institutions and aspirations.
In brief, the Commission shall serve the following functions:
- Advise the President in the formulation, coordination, implementation, and monitoring of policies, plans, programs and projects affecting Muslim Filipino communities
- Act as the primary government agency through which Muslim Filipinos could seek government assistance and redress, and serve as medium through which such assistance may be extended to Muslim Filipinos;
- Monitor and evaluate the performance of all existing policies and development programs of the government that seek to strengthen and uplift the socio-economic conditions of Muslim Filipinos and identify areas that need government intervention and support;
- 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 and issue certificates of ancestral land/domain titles; and
- Undertake studies, establishment and maintenance of ethnographic research centers and museums on the culture and institutions of Muslim Filipinos. This is for purposes of policy formulation and program implementation as well as for the purpose of preserving their historical heritage.
The NCMF has nine commissioners including the Secretary/Chief Executive Officer, who will represent the Commission at cabinet-level meetings with the President. The Commission will cover both local and national concerns of Muslim Filipinos, including the implementation of economic, educational, cultural, and infrastructure programs for Muslim Filipino communities.
Among the main programs of the NCMF is the coordination of the annual hajj pilgrimage to Makkah, participation in international Qur’an reading competitions, and other educational and cultural activities of relevance to Muslim Filipino communities. Muslim Filipino students who intend to study abroad should coordinate with the NCMF to have their academic documents properly authenticated before traveling to the country where they will pursue their higher education.
Sen. Zubiri, its principal sponsor, said that the creation of the Commission is in consonance to national unity and development. Cong. Dimaporo on the other hand, emphasized the significant role of the Commission to ensure the delivery of allocated resources for education, economic and cultural development programs for the Muslims.