THE values of unity and sharing especially in the midst of the ongoing conflict in the Islamic city of Marawi conflict took center stage in this year's celebration of the Eid'l Fitr at the Pelaez Sports Center, June 25.
About two thousand Muslims participated in the early morning prayer held at the Pelaez Sports center as part of the Eid'l Fitr or the feast for the breaking of the fast which marks the end of the month-long Ramadan. More than half of the almost two thousand participants were composed of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Marawi City who all sought refuge in the Cagayan de Oro.
"Kami ay nagpapasalamat na tinanggap ang mga IDPs at na tumulong ang gobyerno at ang iba't ibang religious group na tumulong. In time of crisis, ang ginawa nila ay tumulong in cash or in kind para sa ating mga IDPs at yan po ang pinakamaganda dahil maiwasan natin yung mga pangamba na baka magkaroon ng ibang resulta nanaman. (We are thankful that the IDPs were accepted here and for the government and the other religious groups who helped. In time of crisis, what they did was help in cash or in kind for our IDPs and that is the most beautiful thing because we will be able to avoid all the doubts that will have different results again.)," said Mohamad Gondarangin, the President of the Oro Muslim Association.
Gondarangin added that people flocked not only to the communal prayer at the Pelaez Sports Center but also those at the city's mosques.
Sittie Fatima Deragangen, one of the IDPs who now temporarily resides in Barangay Balulang in the city, cried while praying alongside her family in the Eid'l Fitr celebration this morning.
She said that while they remain unsure if they can go back to their house and business in Marawi City, she is still filled with gratitude that her whole family was able to survive not only the trip out of the their city but also in living in Cagayna de Oro City.
"Ang pinaka mahirap ay yung hindi na namin alam kung ay aabutan pa ba kami pagbalik sa Marawi o kung makakabalik pa ba kami. Pero magpasalamat na lang talaga ako na buhay kaming lahat at hindi lumipas ang araw na wala kaming makain o matirahan dito sa Cagayan. (The hardest part is that we do not know if we still have something to come back to in Marawi or if we will still come back. But I am just thankful that we are all alive and not a day passed that we do not have anything to eat or live in here in Cagayan de Oro)," she said.
Alisha Macapodi, another IDP who now temporarily lives with her family in Barangay Macanhan, said that she is relieved that after everything that has happened to their hometown, they were still able to celebrate the Eid'l Fitr in Cagayan de Oro City.
"The fact that the Ramadan was timed almost at the same time as the Marawi conflict I think poses a great challenge for us Muslims to stay strong amidst this crisis. There are a lot of eager helping hands in the Muslim community here in Cagayan de Oro and also in Iligan city and they have made the situation all the more easier for us IDPs," Macapodi said.
The Eid'l Fitr is a three-day celebration which will come to a close on Tuesday, June 27.