By Ali G. Macabalang
COTABATO CITY – Two key members of parliament (MPs) of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) want the new official seal of the Police Regional Office (PRO) in the autonomous region corrected in proper process to rid the logo of the Cross symbol, saying the icon awkwardly associates policing with religious sects.
BTA Parliament Deputy Speakers Omar Yasser Sema of Maguindanao and Zia-ur Rahman Alonto-Adiong took turns on Saturday in airing the need for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) leadership to hold a corrective conference with the Philippine National Police (PNP) hierarchy.
MPs Sema and Adiong were among six guests in the 4th episode of the weekly Tapatan forum of the Bangsamoro Press Corps last Saturday, Sept. 11. The four other guests were BARMM Public Works Secretary Ed Guerra, Trade and Tourism Deputy Minister Sukarno Abas, Planning Director General Mohajirin Ali and Land Management Director Hexsan Mabang, who also expressed surprise about the Cross icon embedded in the new PRO-BAR seal.
The issue was raised at the online media event amid criticisms from concerned professionals against the inception of the police logo “obviously without the knowledge” of the top policy makers in the BARMM governance. Among them was Dr. Sukarno Tanggol, chancellor of the Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology, who demanded a review of the police logo’s elements.
At the center of the logo lie the icons of a crescent and a Cross. The PRO-BARMM has reportedly required its field office to adopt the new seal. The BPC invited the regional police leadership to join Tapatan forum last Saturday and present its side, but it begged off to participate in the next episode of the media online engagement.
Sema and Adiong said they would likely file a resolution authorizing the BARMM Chief Minister Ahod “Hadji Murad” Ebrahim to make representation to the PNP hierarchy for an amendment in the police logo.
“Under existing laws, the Chief Minister is empowered to make remedial conferences with the higher authorities on various issues including police matters,” Sema said.
Adiong, for his part, said it is awkward for an official government seal to contain symbols that reflect religion, hinting that BARMM is more than 90 percent Muslim Filipinos haven.
BARMM replaced the 29-year old Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), and has immense autonomy and resources farm more than the preceding entity. Yet, the police regional office of the defunct ARMM did not have any religious symbol, Adiong said as he shared local media and academicians’ observations.
“It be better off for (the designers of the new regional police seal) to retain the symbol of Sultan Kudarat’s image with a shield in the national police seal,” Adiong said. (AGM)