Blogger and Presidential Communications Operations Office Undersecretary Margaux “Mocha” Uson is drawing flak for a video she posted showing her wearing boots and without a hijab inside the Marawi Grand Mosque.
Uson accompanied Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte in his fourth visit to the battleground area on Monday.
Speaking on behalf of the Provincial Crisis Management Committee, Zia Alonto Adiong said that they appreciated the president’s visit but advised that religious protocol should always be observed.
“It is on this established partnership that we advise caution to our officials to prudently carry out their mandate in manner that conforms with religious standards and protocols when entering religious establishments in order to maintain respect to the sensitive nature of places of worship,” he said.
Meanwhile, a resident of Marawi said that simply having non-Muslims inside the mosque is not allowed, although rules on allowing non-Muslims in mosques is a point of debate within the Islamic community.
In a Facebook post yesterday, Drieza Abato Lininding said: “The least that the president and his men could do now to the Almost half a Million Displaced Meranaws is to show some Religious sensitivity. [Their] Presence and of Mocha could be considered by Many Muslims as a desecration of our Masjid.”
However, other netizens commented that the president’s visit was permissible.
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The government officers and soldiers who accompanied Uson and Duterte were also wearing their boots inside the place of worship.
In an interview with the press, Jo-Ar Herrera, a Lt. Col. assigned in Marawi assured that the military gives importance to people’s comments.
“We respect the comments or any reactions of netizens. That’s very important. Even in our training, we respect all cultural heritage,” he said.
In a video posted on Facebook today, Uson said that earlier reports saying she took a selfie inside the mosque are false. She explained that she was simply doing her job to document the things Duterte does.
Yesterday, Duterte told reporters that it was not his intention to offend Muslims.
“I respect Islam; it was not meant to disrespect or dishonor. I just don’t want everyone to get cut [by glass and rubble],” the president said.
Uson’s video has since been deleted.