Kabataan party-list Rep. Raymond V. Palatino filed House Bill 6330 or the proposed “Religious Freedom in Government Offices Act” last week before the Congress adjourned.
Under the measure, the conduct of religious ceremonies and the display of religious symbols should be prohibited within the premises and perimeter of offices, departments and bureaus, including publicly-owned spaces and corridors within such offices, departments and bureaus.
eligion, but it would remind that the “public space is for everybody.”
“This bill seeks to empower heads of offices and departments to follow strictly the constitutional provision on the freedom of religion, particularly the non-establishment clause, in the exercise of their official functions, and in the use of government facilities and property in the exercise thereof,” he said in filing the bill.
He said despite the clear provisions and jurisprudence on the non-establishment and non-sponsorship of the State of any religion, it has been observed that religious ceremonies and symbols are prominently done or placed, respectively, in several government offices. He even noted that religious ceremonies are also undertaken preparatory to the conduct of state affairs, such as the recital of ecumenical prayers before court hearings, flag ceremonies, government meetings, among others.
“The State cannot be seen to favor one religion over the other, in allowing the prominent conduct and display of religious ceremonies and symbols, respectively, in public offices and property,” he said.
Under the measure, the head of offices, departments and bureaus are mandated to promulgate the corresponding rules and regulations to implement the provisions of the proposed law.