Duterte in Eid'l Fitr message: Willpower, faith will see us through

Muslim women gather for Eid’l Fitr congregational prayer held inside the 32-hectare ARMM compound, southwest of Cotabato City. Philstar.com/ John Unson, file

Duterte in Eid'l Fitr message: Willpower, faith will see us through

Alexis Romero (Philstar.com) - June 25, 2017 - 6:00am
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday expressed optimism that willpower and faith would allow the Philippines to overcome its problems as he called for unity in his message for the Muslim religious holiday Eid'l Fitr.
 
Duterte said he is hopeful that the "renewed sense of spiritual accomplishment" brought about by the religious event would give Muslims the strength and courage to cultivate their communities.
 
"In times when all odds seem stacked against us, it is our willpower and faith that will always see us through," Duterte said in the message, which was released as government troops grapple with the threat of Islamist extremists in Marawi in Lanao del Sur.
 
"Let us channel our energies towards fostering national unity - because dedicating our lives to the betterment of humanity is the best way to demonstrate our devotion to God," he added.
 
Duterte also urged Filipinos to "work towards building a society that is grounded on love, mutual respect and understanding."
 
Eid'l Fitr marks the end of Ramadan, a Muslim holy month observed by fasting and prayers. Ramadan was declared a national holiday by Republic Act no. 9177 enacted in 2002.
 
There are more than five million Muslims in the Philippines, where a majority identifies as Catholic.
 
Duterte said the first day of the Islamic month of Shawwal brings great joy to Muslims and "signifies the successful journey towards spiritual purification through a month-long fasting."
 
"On this special day, remember to thank Allah (Arabic for God) for bestowing upon you the resolve, courage and fortitude to obey His commandments during the blessed month of Ramadan," Duterte said.
 
"May this special day bring happiness, peace and prosperity to everyone," he added.
 
A total of 280 terrorists and 69 government troopers have died since the Islamic State-linked Maute group laid siege in Marawi City last May 23, according to the military. The attacks were done in response to a failed security operation against fugitive Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon, who has linked up with the Lanao-based Maute terror group.
 
On Sunday, the Armed Forces of the Philippines declared a "humanitarian pause" on offensives to allow civilians to mark Eid'l Fitr in peace. 

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