DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/08 July) – President Rodrigo Duterte returned home Thursday night on board a commercial aircraft to attend the Mindanao Hariraya Eid’l Fitr 2016 at the SMX Convention Center Davao in Lanang Friday night where he is expected to reiterate his peace roadmap for the Bangsamoro.
Duterte will speak before an estimated 700 Moro religious and political leaders from all over Mindanao and officials of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos.
Peace is the dominant message on Eid’l Fitr, the end of the month-long Ramadan which fell on Wednesday, July 6, less than a week after his inaugural address on June 30, where Duterte, the country’s 16th President and the first Mindanawon to lead the nation, declared his administration was “committed to implement all signed peace agreements in step with constitutional and legal reforms.”
“I am elated by the expression of unity among our Moro brothers and leaders, and the response of everyone else to my call for peace. I look forward to the participation of all other stakeholders, particularly our indigenous peoples, to ensure inclusivity in the peace process,” the President said.
In his message on Eid’l Fitr, Duterte said this year’s celebration is “timely and relevant” as the Filipino nation “starts a fresh move towards peace, stability, development and progress under a new leadership.”
Secretary Jesus Dureza, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, said “perseverance, endurance, and cleansing are necessary hallmarks as we all walk in step with each other, Muslims and non-Muslims alike, for peace in the land.”
Duterte expressed hope that “the sense of discipline the Holy Month of Ramadhan has taught and nurtured among Muslims” will inspire all the members of the Muslim Filipino communities to unite with other Filipinos to achieve lasting peace, political stability, economic growth and development. Indeed, change is coming!”
Curiously, the six-paragraph message of the President, e-mailed by MARO-PCOO at 3:52 p.m. on July 6, was not on official Malacanang letterhead, bore no date, had the President’s signature but no name underneath, only “President” in all caps.
Duterte’s eldest child, Paolo, re-elected as vice-mayor but serving as Acting Mayor until July 22 because his sister, Sara, the mayor, is on leave until then, issued a message on behalf of Sara on July 5, expressing their warmest wishes to Muslims celebrating Eid’l Fitr.
The acting mayor said they join Muslims in “praying for a meaningful reconciliation and the end of conflicts in Mindanao and many other parts of the world now besieged by suffering brought by acts of war and terrorism.”
He said they have been witnesses to “how conditions of unpeace crippled growth of the nation and fomented more and more atrocities and human suffering.”
The younger Duterte also recognized the contributions of Muslims to the growth and development of Davao City. “Over the years, many Muslims here have shown leadership and inspiration to others — breaking the walls of diversity and crushing hostile relationships built on discrimination and mistrust.”
He said Eid’l Fitr is a celebration of a new beginning “as it is a celebration of hope, understanding, and respect for the faith and belief of others,” but above all else, “the message of Eidl Fitr is the message of peace.”
As Davao City Mayor for 22 years, President Duterte, named Deputy Mayors for the Moro and Lumads (Indigenous Peoples) – six for the Moro (Kalagan, Maranao, Tausug, Maguindanao, Sama and Iranun) and five for the Lumads (Tagabawa/Manobo, Ata of Paquibato District, Obo/Manubu of Marilog and Baguio districts, Matigsalog Guiangan, and Klata).
In his campaign sorties, Duterte would spend several minutes talking about Philippine history from the perspective of Mindanao and the need to correct the historical injustices against the Moro people. He would also tell his audience his grandmother was a Maranao and he has grandchildren who are Tausug. (Carolyn O. Arguillas /MindaNews)