MANILA, Philippines – As Muslims nationwide celebrate the end of Ramadan, President Rodrigo Duterte hopes Filipinos will remain united in the face of "misguided ideologies" and the threats of violent extremism.
"We collectively observe this event to praise Allah in thanksgiving for providing our nation the strength to endure the challenges of misguided ideologies, terrorism and violent extremism," said Duterte in his message sent on Friday, June 15.
Malacañang declared Friday, Eid'l Fitr, a regular holiday.
In many of his speeches, Duterte often speaks of the Muslim extremist beliefs of the terror group Islamic State (ISIS) as a threat to Mindanao, his home region.
"The problem is the advent of ISIS. It’s a very virulent and toxic ideology. It does nothing but kill and destroy," he said on Tuesday, during the Cavite Independence Day celebration.
Duterte, in his Eid'l Fitr message, also asked the nation to look toward the goal of achieving peace in the southern region.
"This is in an opportune time to reflect on the progress we have made to achieve long-lasting peace across the country, especially in Mindanao," he said.
"May this revered festival inspire us all to foster greater unity amidst our differences in faith and culture," he added.
This year's Eid'l Fitr celebration comes as Congress struggles to pass a new Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), legislation that Duterte sees as a critical step to achieving peace in Mindanao.
Duterte has repeatedly expressed hope that it will be passed soon.
"The Bangsamoro (Basic Law) is in Congress. I hope it will pass. If it does not, then there’s gonna be another round of ruckus there. I hope it would not again result to a near revolution environment," he had said on Tuesday.
Robredo: Emulate Muslims’ selflessness
In her message on the occasion of Eid’l Fitr, Vice President Leni Robredo cited the “selflessness” shown by the Muslim community in helping those in need in war-torn Marawi City.
“In the past year, we have seen first-hand, how our Muslim brothers and sisters were willing to sacrifice their own well-being to help people in need. Many of our Muslim countrymen were willing to give food to those who had none to eat, to give shelter to those who had lost their homes, and to give comfort to those who were in despair in the midst of the crisis in Marawi,” she said.
“These were examples of selflessness that the rest of us Filipinos would do well to emulate,” Robredo added.
The Vice President expressed hoped that the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law would be passed soon, and that the version to be signed into law “adequately reflects the hopes and dreams of our dear Bangsamoro brothers and sisters, to end their long-drawn suffering and fulfill their desire for lasting peace.”
“May this day reward you for your sacrifices and selflessness to those in need. May this day strengthen your faith in Islam and give you the strength to overcome the challenges that you and the nation face. May this day also be a time to reflect and celebrate, as Allah’s hand blesses the whole of humanity,” she said.
In his message, Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Governor Mujiv Hataman cited the importance of unity in overcoming challenges.
“Ramadan is a time of both reflection and struggle. Our fast embodies the many choices we are faced with in this world: We are taught, at every moment, to submit to the will of Allah; to side with what is kind, just, and good; to cleanse ourselves of negativity; and ultimately, to emerge from every challenge with peace in our hearts and greater clarity of purpose,” Hataman said. – Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at email@example.com.