PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III has commended the traits of Filipino Muslims that contribute to nation-building as he greeted them in their celebration of the fasting month of Ramadan, Eid’l Fitr.

In his message posted on Official Gazette Monday, the President called on the Muslims to remain solid and resolute in achieving lasting peace.

"The bedrock of a robust society is an empowered citizenry working together for the achievement of lasting peace and meaningful reform, and there is no doubt that our Muslim brothers and sisters contribute greatly to this foundation," he said.

He said that the compassion, discipline, and solidarity that Muslims demonstrate everyday are not just an affirmation of their strong faith in Allah and commitment to Islam, but also a testament to proactive participation in nation-building.

"Throughout our history, Islam has served as a guide for many Filipinos, offering pathways of discernment for individuals and communities of this faith. May its teachings hold true to the collective conscience of the Filipino people, and may you always be guided by integrity and excellence in your deeds, as we aim to fully realize our country's transformation," the President said.

Having been raised in Mindanao, Senator Teofisto Guingona III said he had shared many Eid'l Fitr celebrations with Muslim friends.

"Good tidings and hopes for peace and forgiveness are expressed in these happy occasions, as the Ramadan month has strengthened their spirituality and adherence to the Merciful God," Guingona said, adding that the occasion also calls for forgiveness and repentance.

Senator Loren Legarda, meanwhile, said Eid'l Fitr "paves the way for deeper respect and understanding among Filipinos regardless of faith or religious belief."

Legarda authored Republic Act 9177, or the Eid'l Fitr Law, which decreed that the first day of Shawwal, the tenth month of the Islamic calendar is a national holiday for the observance of Eid'l Fitr.

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Deles said that Eid'l Fitr is not just a time to celebrate but also a time to sustain peace.

"Eid'l Fitr is a time of rejoicing in the fulfillment of one's spirit. It is also a time to nurture peace as one becomes stronger and wiser at the heart of struggles, and gentler and more forgiving in the midst of conflict," she said in a statement issued Sunday.

She expressed optimism that lasting peace will be achieved in Mindanao soon.

"We ask of our people to accompany us in the next stages of the peace process, continuously following the straight path that brought us here. With renewed spirit and a stronger sense of purpose at this celebration of Eid'l Fitr, let us be one in praising and thanking God and in seeking His mercy and blessings in pursuing peace and development for all Filipinos," she said.

President Aquino declared August 20, through Proclamation 455, as regular national holiday in observance of Eid'l Fitr, which is celebrated on the sighting of the crescent moon by the billions who follow Islam, including the estimated four million Filipino Muslims.

August 21, Tuesday, was also declared as special non-working holiday to mark the 29th death anniversary of Aquino's father, the late Senator Benigno Aquino Jr. (Jill Beltran/Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)