DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 15 September) — The University of the Philippines Mindanao rededicated a masjid inside its campus in Mintal, Davao City in a short ceremony on Thursday, on the day of the investiture of the state university’s 22nd president, lawyer Angelo Jimenez who hails from Butuan City.
The masjid was originally constructed in 2000 by the 55th Engineering Brigade, which occupied a portion of the 204-hectare government-owned lot until UPMin moved there.
The event was attended by members of the Muslim community, with Davao City Grand Mufti Aleem Mohammad Pasigan reading a verse from the Quran.
According to members of the school’s Muslim student organization, the rededication affirms their community’s desire to practice their freedom of religion at a more convenient location.
Natalia E. Alawan, OIC President of the University of the Philippines Mindanao Association of Muslim Students, the nearest place of worship for Muslims is located in Catalunan Pequeno, roughly six kilometers away from UPMin.
“We plan to hold weekly events to accommodate our local community,” Alawan said.
The organization’s leader said the masjid would welcome all Muslims, regardless of whether they are from UPMin or not.
Architect and UPMin alumnus Abdul Malik Diamla said his own experience in the early 2000s as a Muslim student was enriched, too, by the presence of the masjid.
The rededication was a result of a fundraising activity by the University of the Philippines Alumni Association’s Davao Chapter, which was able to raise at least P800,000 in six weeks, from a target of P850,000.
UPAA Davao auditor Pedro “Bogs” Quitain said the organization has since raised at least P870,000, with construction beginning as soon as the idea was brought up.
Channeling alumni connections, the team was able to start construction before all the funds came in.
UPMin has since signed a memorandum of agreement with UPAA Davao on the management of the masjid.
UPAA Davao Chair Napoleon Concepcion, said the rehabilitation of the masjid covers the paint job, ceiling, ablution areas for men and women, perimeter tiles, overhead ceiling fans, and rewiring, among others.
The masjid is located at the entrance of UP Mindanao’s University Avenue in Mintal.
The structure outdates the campus, as UP Mindanao, which began operations in 1995, was housed in three different locations in the city before it was transferred to Mintal.
UPAA officials said that the masjid itself was symbolic of the gains of the peace process, with its original construction in 2000 involving the 10th Engineering Company’s Moro National Liberation Front integrees along with the 55th Engineering Brigade. (MindaNews)