DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/19 Aug) – A time of rejoicing and a time to nurture peace.
Secretary Teresita Quintos-Deles, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, is inviting all Filipinos “to be in solidarity with our Muslim brethren,” as they celebrate Eid’l Fitr, the end of the month-long fasting.
Although this year’s Eid’l Fitr fell on a Sunday, Monday, August 20 has been declared a nationwide holiday to “bring the religious and cultural significance of the Eid’l Fitr to the fore of national consciousness.”
“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. As peacemakers and peacebuilders, the challenges we experience do not weaken our resolve but rather build our tenacity to rise above everything that separates us from peace,” Deles said in a press statement Sunday.
Deles said Eid’l Fitr is a time filled with hope for “a just peace in Mindanao that is closely, hopefully, within our reach.”
“After months and, yes, years of struggles on the peace tables, we have dared again to dream of peace under the true and tested ‘daang matuwid’ of” President Benigno Simeon Aquino.
Deles called on the public to “accompany us in the next stages of the peace process, continuously following the straight path that brought us here.”
The government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) peace panels are returning to Kuala Lumpur soon for another round of talks. Both panels have expressed optimism they would be able to sign a framework agreement soon.
Peace in Mindanao, Prayers for Robredo
In Cotabato City, Mujiv Hataman, OIC Governor of the Autonmous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), called for prayers “for peace to reign all over Mindanao and upon each one of us.”
“We offer solidarity prayers for the calamity-stricken residents of the north, and for those displaced by recent skirmishes in some parts of Muslim Mindanao,” Hataman said.
He also asked for prayers for the family of the still missing Local Governments Secretary Jesse Robredo and the national officialdo “for a lease in life.”
Robredo was flying from Cebu City to his home in Naga City Saturday afternoon when the Cessna plane developed engine trouble and crashed off Masbate. Robredo’s aide survived but Robredo and the two pilots remain missing as of Sunday afternoon.
“May he be safely rescued from the tragic plane crash in Masbate late yesterday,” Hataman said, adding Robredo’s role in reforming the ARMM “is beyond perrsonal reckoning.”
For Samira Gutoc, sectoral representative for women at the ARMM’s Regional Legislative Assembly, invited the public to “share contribution to the less fortunate such as evacuees in Magunidanao, the halaws or trafficking victims in the islands, and those who cannot eat at all.”
Peace every day
“Fasting is symbolic as we all must help clean up our government in the ARMM. At a time of search for a true Muslim social order, fasting reminds that we do not need to await that product of a peace talks to practice our true nation. Everyday, we must uphold human rights,” she said.
“I hope, as Ramadan bids farewell and as we pray for the Eid’l Fitr, let us stand as united reformed individuals – the source of Peace not only for Muslims but for the whole humanity as well, enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong,” Gutoc adde.d
The President last week issued Procalamation 455 declaring August 20 as a regular holiday. The Proclamation was in accordance with RA 9177 passed in 2002, which declared Eid’l Fitr a national holiday.
The Proclamation states that in order “to promote cultural understanding and integration, the entire Filipino nation should have the full opportunity to join their Muslim brothers and sisters in the observance and celebration of Eid’l Fitr.”
“To bring the religious and cultural significance of the Eid’l Fitr to the fore of national consciousness, it is necessary to declare Monday, 20 August 2012, as a regular holiday throughout the country,” it added. (MindaNews)