President Duterte on Monday joined Muslims in the observance of the holy of month of Ramadan, as he expressed hopes the occasion would bring spiritual renewal and enlightenment for the Muslim population and the nation as a whole amid the present challenges.
“This sacred month is not only a period for Muslims to concentrate on prayer and making amends, but also a time for them to experience and enjoy Allah’s mercy,” the President said in a message released by the Palace.
“Similar to how the period of fasting ends with feasting, it is my hope that all your efforts for discipline and reflection will be rewarded with revelation, as well as deeper connection with Allah,” the Chief Executive said.
“May this occasion likewise allow the teachings of the Qur’an to take precedence over all your decisions – even the smallest ones. Let the enlightenment that comes with your contemplation lead you to live with integrity for yourselves and for the nation, especially now when it is needed most,” Duterte added.
The Bangsamoro government has announced that the observance of Ramadan in the country started on April 3.
For Muslims, Ramadan is the annual month-long commemoration of the first revelation to Prophet Muhammad of the first verses of the Qur’an, Islam’s holy book.
Ramadan is one of the Muslims’ foundations inscribed in the Qur’an. Muslims practice fasting during the day for the whole month to bring the faithful closer to God and to remind them of the suffering of the less fortunate.
Meanwhile, civil servants in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) are now allowed to go home from work at 3:30 p.m. from Monday to Friday.
BARMM Chief Minister Ahod “Murad” Ebrahim on Monday also modified the working hours of officials and employees during the fasting month of Ramadan.
Fasting from sunrise to dusk by able-bodied Muslims started on April 3 and will end on May 2.
“Muslim officials and employees who shall observe fasting during the holy month are allowed to observe flexible working hours from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.,” Ebrahim said in Memorandum Circular No. 0051.
“After the end of Ramadan, all officials and employees shall revert to their respective regular working hours from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.,” he added.
Ahead of the start of the fasting month, Ebrahim urged all Bangsamoro to spread love. He also called on the public to continue observing physical distancing since the threat of Covid-19 still exists and “is still around us.”
“We hurdled the pandemic, I believe time will come that this pandemic will end,” he said in the vernacular.
Ramadan, the holiest observance among Muslims worldwide, comes at a time when the country is at the peak of the campaign period for the May 9 national and local polls.
“I hope peace will prevail during and after the local and national elections, I hope patience and understanding about our political stance will prevail,” Ebrahim said.
“Let us not allow the political season to disrupt our fasting and religious activities, let us not allow our differences in choices to affect our fasting,” he said.