By Edwin O. Fernandez
COTABATO CITY, Sept. 24 (PNA) — Calls for peace reverberated across Cotabato City and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao as the Muslims celebrate Eid al-Adha or the Feast of Sacrifice.
ARMM Regional Governor Mujiv Hataman said he was praying the celebration will pave the way for the attainment of genuine peace, not only in Mindanao, but all over the world.
“I pray for peace like any of our peace loving people of Mindanao that peace will reign starting today, the Feast of Sacrifice,” Hataman told reporters after attending the congregational prayer inside the ARMM compound here.
“Let us remember the lives of our brothers who perished as we work for peace to come in our homeland,” Hataman said, adding that their sacrifices should serve as inspiration for the present generation to continue working for peace.
In a statement, Ustadz Murad Ebrahim, chief of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), also called on fellow Muslims to continue working for peace with the national government.
“With the manifestation of unwavering support by President Aquino and his allies in the government, the international community including the Organization of Islamic Conference, we are still looking forward for the future of the peace process as both the government and the MILF, the Bangsamoro people and the international community have invested so much efforts and resources,” Murad said.
“As for the MILF, our commitment and great courage to push for the peaceful process will continue,” he added.
Muslims in the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi have started the three-day celebration today and will last until September 26, Saturday with activities of charity and prayers.
The Feast of Sacrifice is one of the five Muslim holidays identified in Presidential Proclamation 1083 or the Muslim Code of the Philippines.
Rep. Bai Sandra Sema of Maguindanao first district and Cotabato City, said the celebration should be an opportunity for all Muslims to renew faith and work for peace.
“The celebration will bring families together and together we all work for peace because there is development in an environment of peace,” Sema said after attending the day’s congregational prayer.
Eid al-Adha signals the end of fasting month in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
Senior Supt. Rex Anongos, Cotabato City police chief, said the celebration was peaceful and solemn with no untoward incident.
As early as 3 a.m. Thursday, police officers have been deployed around the city. But Anongos did not claim credit for the peaceful celebration. He attributed it to all the people of Cotabato City and the Muslim inhabitants.
He lauded the law enforcers and traffic officers for an effective flow of traffic when people converged in three major areas in the city for the congregational prayers.
More than 100 cows were slaughtered by various Muslim organizations to be distributed to poor Muslim inhabitants as a gesture of charity. (PNA)