Hundreds of Muslims gather at the Tionko Football Field in Davao City to celebrate the end of the holy month of Ramadan on Wednesday morning, July 6. (Paulo C. Rizal/

Hundreds of Muslims gather at the Tionko Football Field in Davao City to celebrate the end of the holy month of Ramadan on Wednesday morning, July 6. (Paulo C. Rizal/

By Evan Michael Clerigo, UP intern

DAVAO CITY — To mark the end of the month-long fast during Ramadan, hundreds of Filipino Muslims here gathered and celebrated Eid’l Fitr at the Tionko Football Field in Agro-Foundation College of the Philippines this Wednesday, July 6.

As the holy month of Ramadhan concluded, Deputy Mayor Gapor “Randy” Usman for Maranao tribe said, “it feels like our sins have been washed away, and we have been born again.”

During the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims abstain from eating food, drinking liquids, smoking, engaging in sexual relations, and speaking ill of others, from dawn until sunset.

Mariam Masbod, 14, from Cabantian, said that fasting is not easy, but she adheres to do it as her way of serving Allah.

After the morning prayers (Sembahyang), Mariam shared breakfast and participated in the parlor games, initiated by the Davao New Muslim Care Center for Women, with her friends and other Muslim children.

Usman expressed his gratitude for the city government’s support and effort to secure the area.

Attacks against Muslims

Meanwhile, Filipino Muslims expressed their dismay over the series of attacks in Baghdad, Istanbul, Dhaka and Saudi Arabia during the celebration of the holy month of Ramadan.

Jerome Abba, spokesperson of Suara Bangsamoro, said that these series of suicide bombings, which were allegedly perpetrated by ISIS, shows that ISIS has nothing to do with Islam for Islam does not teach violence, and killing is un-Islamic.

Deputy Mayor Ismael Nakan of Mindanaon tribe also affirmed that “definitely they [ISIS] are not from Islam, they are only claiming that they are Muslim.”

Nakan said that they have offered their prayers earlier for the victims of suicide bombings, for the world to achieve peace, and for President Rodrigo Duterte to continue his vow to bring peace not only in Mindanao, but in the whole country.

Challenge to Duterte administration

Abba said that he is confident that President Duterte can correct the stigma against the Moro people because aside from being a Mindanaoan, he “knows and understands the Moro struggle.”

He added that the Duterte administration must address the root cause of the conflict in Mindanao—land struggle. He is hopeful that this administration will consider and will pass the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB).

“Kung si President Duterte ay gagawa ng isang autonomy for the Moro people na hindi naglalaman ng mga substance katulad ng genuine agrarian reform, national industrialization, etc matutulad din siya sa Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao na isang pekeng autonomiya (If President Duterte will make an autonomy for the Moro people without the genuine agrarian reform, national industrialization, etc is a false autonomy, just like the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao),” Abba said.

He said that ARMM has never really addressed the concerns of Moro people—especially the issues on lands and national industrialization.

More so, he urged the new president to pull out the military troops in Muslim communities.

“Ito ‘yung isang reason kung bakit nagkakagulo dito dahil nga sa presence ng mga military troops na ang ginagawa ay magpalaganap ng state terrorism (One of the reasons of the conflict here is the presence of the military troops that perpetuates state terrorism),” he said.

He said the Moro people are optimistic on President Duterte’s vow to bring change.

Non-working holiday

On Monday, July 4, President Rodrigo Duterte declared July 6 as a regular holiday. In Proclamation No. 6 , Duterte said the holiday was declared “to bring the religious and cultural significance of the Eid’l Fitr to the fore of national consciousness.”

Duterte in a statement said “this year’s celebration is indeed timely and relevant as the Filipino starts fresh move towards peace, stability, development and progress under a new leadership.”

“The observance of fasting during Ramadan is among the five pillars of Islam. As everybody knows, fasting during Ramadan teaches discipline. It instills in one’s mind and heart the virtues of honesty, sincerity and commitment to his faith. It promotes understanding, peace, sympathy, and love for fellow human beings,” Duterte said in a statement.

“May the sense of discipline the Holy Month of Ramadan has taught and nurtured among Muslims inspire all the members of the Muslim Filipino communities to unite with other Filipinos to achieve lasting peace, political stability, economic growth and development,” he said.

Duterte’s mother, Soledad Roa Duterte, is of Maranao and Kamayo descent. He also has Muslim grandchildren. (With a report from Zea Io Ming C. Capistrano/

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