Press Release
August 1, 2010

Legarda Calls For the Activation Of More Shari'a Courts Nationwide

Senator Loren Legarda today pushed for the strengthening of the Shari'a District Court System by expanding it to cover the ARMM, the areas in Mindanao outside of the ARMM, Luzon and the Visayas to make it easier for Muslim Filipinos to go to courts of justice to remedy their problems and reconcile disputes among them.

"Shari'a courts were established to adjudicate and resolve legal disputes concerning personal laws peculiar to Muslim Filipinos. Unfortunately, the presence of Shari'a courts is limited to certain parts of Mindanao."

"Muslim Filipinos located far from such courts have found it very difficult, inconvenient and troublesome to the file and have their cases resolved," Legarda said.

Legarda filed Senate Bill 1346 introducing five (5) special judicial districts in the ARMM :

1. First Shari'a District comprising the province of Sulu;

2. Second Shari'a District for the province of Tawi-Tawi;

3. Third Shari'a District comprising the province of Basilan and the City of Isabela;

4. Fourth Shari'a District for the Province of Lanao del Sur and the City of Marawi and the

5. Fifth Shari'a District to encompass the province of Maguindanao and the City of Cotabato.

Outside of the ARMM, Legarda's Senate Bill 1346 proposed also the activation of the following additional courts:

1. Sixth Shari'a District for the province of Lanao del Norte and the City of Iligan

2. Seventh Shari'a District for the province of North Cotabato, South Cotabato and the City of General Santos;

3. Eight Shari'a District for the provinces of Zamboanga Sibugay, Zamboagna del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur and the cities of Dipolog, Pagadian and Zamboanga;

4. Ninth Shari'a District for the Metropolitan Manila Area and Southern Luzon ;

5. Tenth Shari'a District in Northern Luzon; and the 6. Eleventh Shari'a District in the Visayas

"At present, there are millions of Muslim Filipinos in many parts of Mindanao, Luzon and Visayas where there are no Shari'a courts who are engaged in trading and other aspects of community life. With the passage of this bill, our Muslim Filipinos can look forward to a speedier, fair and efficient resolution of their cases, "Legarda concluded.

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