Duterte calls for unity, social transformation as Ramadan starts

Rodrigo Duterte

President Rodrigo Duterte urged Muslim- Filipinos to take part in the “social and moral transformation” as Islam’s month-long tradition of prayers and fasting began yesterday.

In his message for the observance of Ramadan, Duterte said his administration strives to unite all Filipinos, regardless of religion, cultural tradition and political belief.

“Together, let us create the change that we have been aspiring for -- the social and moral transformation that is real and meaningful and the lasting progress that will uplift the lives of our fellow kababayans,” he said.

Muslims all over the world recognize Ramadan as one of the five pillars of Islam, a season of fasting and prayers observed by the faithful, except those with illnesses, aged, pregnant women and those with menstruation.

They fast and pray from dawn to dusk, but most eat a full meal early in the morning before the day’s prayers.

Aside from fasting and prayers, Muslims make extra efforts to help others in need during Ramadan, which is also marked by the daily reading of the Quran.

Muslims consider Ramadan as Allah’s commandment to cleanse themselves from sins through fasting and abstinence from sex during the whole ninth month of the Islamic calendar.

“Let this also be a solemn opportunity to ask God’s forgiveness for the sins we have committed and to be thankful for all the blessings we have received in the past year.

“I trust that you will offer sincere prayers for peace, solidarity and understanding among our people and all of humanity,” Duterte added.

The President  also wished Muslim-Filipinos an “inspiring” and “blessed” Ramadan.

PEACEFUL RAMADAN

Meanwhile, Philippine National Police chief Director General Oscar D. Albayalde yesterday led the police force in extending its greetings to the Filipino-Muslim community as they start their holy month.

“The PNP extends its greetings of peace and goodwill to all our Filipino-Muslim brothers and sisters as we join them in ushering the Holy Month of Ramadan which is an opportune time to reinforce unity and solidarity among Muslims, Christians and other Filipinos of different faiths towards the ultimate goal of just and lasting peace not only in Mindanao but in the entire country.

“Let me emphasize that the PNP fully supports all the government’s peace initiatives in Mindanao thru the newly-ratified Bangsamoro Organic Law that constituted the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao,”  Albayalde said.

The PNP chief said he is optimistic that the BOL will eventually lead to a comprehensive plan that would address the root causes of poverty in predominantly Muslim areas in Mindanao.

“We must put an end to violence and bloodshed so that lasting peace will prevail in Mindanao, and government can harness all its resources towards the socio-economic development of all Muslim areas.

“At the same time, while the entire process takes its course, all police offices and units in the Muslim areas of Mindanao and elsewhere continue to protect our people and communities from criminal elements to uphold law and order,” he added.

With Alfred Dalizon