The Philippines passed a bill enabling digital access to Sharia courts

The Philippines government moves closer to granting Muslims in the country online access to justice with the passage of the House Bill 9045.

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This week, the Philippine House of Representatives passed House Bill 9045, providing Filipinos who practice Islam with access to Shariah courts. The group numbers an estimated 6% of the population and resides mainly in the Mindanao and Sulu archipelago in the country’s south and the central-western province of Palawan. The development is seen by many as a step closer to providing Muslims the same rights Christians enjoy in the country. 

With the new legislation, the National Commission on Filipino Muslims could process documents for those residing in areas like Mindanao, where no physical Shariah courts exist. However, before the system is operational, it must await the outcome of the bill’s debate in the Senate and its final ratification.

Why does it matter?

A unanimous decision by the Filipino House of Representatives to provide Muslims with greater access to the country’s justice system via the internet illustrates digital transformation’s role in societal inclusivity and transparency.