IN OBSERVANCE of the holy month of Ramadan beginning Thursday, May 17, President Rodrigo Duterte reminded Muslim Filipinos that "faith through actions" can cultivate a sense of solidarity in the nation.
In his Ramadan message, Duterte called on the Islamic faithful to reflect on the principles in the Quran and how these relate to their thoughts and actions.
He also wished Muslims the presence of "peace, mercy and the blessings of Allah."
"Through fasting and prayer, this significant event reveals to them the will of Allah and reaffirms their resolve to achieve spiritual cleansing and growth," he said.
The President acknowledged that during Ramadan, which is a "time of devotion and contemplation," one must endure sacrifices not only to overcome personal difficulties, but also to create meaningful and lasting strides in communities.
"By demonstrating the noble teachings of Islam, it is my fervent hope that you continue to do good deeds for the poor and the marginalized members of the society," Duterte said.
"I ask that you foster a sense of solidarity among all Filipinos by manifesting faith through action. Let us join hands in the shared task of nation-building as we make the Philippines a more inclusive, peaceful and united country in the years to come.
Meanwhile, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) assured that they will continue to safeguard the Muslim Filipino communities, but urged them to remain vigilant against any possible threat which may disrupt the occasion’s solemnity.
AFP spokesperson Colonel Edgard Arevalo said the military, especially the Muslims among them, are one with the Islamic faith in wishing that the month-long period of penance, prayer and reflection remind each other of the value of peace, love and sense of community.
“We wish to exhort our Muslim brethren to be very vigilant, though,” he said.
“The AFP is conscious of the possibility that unscrupulous individuals or groups may be out to sow chaos. Let us, together, prevent them from disrupting the solemn observance of the Holy Month of Ramadan,” he added.
PNP spokesperson Chief Superintendent John Bulalacao urged Muslim Filipinos to immediately report to the authorities any suspicious persons in their community to ensure they will not be able to disrupt the peacefulness of the Ramadan.
Arevalo said the soldiers will exercise caution and be mindful of the sensitivities called for in the occasion while Bulalacao said the PNP will ensure that peace and order is maintained during the celebration to keep its holy observance.
Ramadan, which is the commemoration of the first revelation of the Quran to the Prophet Muhammad, comes in the ninth month of the Islamic calendar.
During the occasion, millions of Muslims are going through a month-long spiritual reflection through praying and fasting and abstaining from sinful behavior. (SunStar Philippines)