The UP CIDS-Islamic Studies Program (UP CIDS-ISP) initiated the first step towards the enhancement of PD 1083 by conducting a Focus Group Discussion (FGD) on Shari’ah Court and Muslim Personal Laws (CMPL) among Ulama (religious scholars), members of the academe, women’s groups, representatives from non-government organizations (NGOs) and the youth sector, as well as Shari’ah counselors in partnership with the UP Institute of Islamic Studies and Anak Mindanao (AMIN) Party List led by Representative Amilhilda J. Sangcopan.
The FGD was held at Marcian Hotel in Zamboanga City on March 29, 2018. This is part of the series of consultations and activities that UP CIDS-ISP will undertake in collaboration with AMIN Party List to prepare a Bill that will elevate CMPL, otherwise known as Presidential Decree (PD) 1083, to a Republic Act through the Congress.
The establishment of Shari’ah Courts under the mandate of Presidential Decree 1083 affirms the pluralistic legal system in the country. Under this legal system, non-Muslims are governed by the Family Code whereas PD 1083 governs personal laws of Muslims. One of the most glaring examples of the differences between the two systems is the recognition of divorce and polygyny under PD 1083 while under the Family Code, divorce and polygyny are not recognized.
Apart from the urgency to elevate PD 1083 to a Republic Act, there are contentious provisions of the Code that need to be reviewed and amended as well as insertions of additional provisions that will make the Code truly responsive to the needs of the Muslims in the Philippines.
The Shari’ah Courts cater to the need of growing Muslim population in the Country pegged at 12 million or 11.0% of the entire population (NCMF statistics 2015).