Top officials from Malacañang urged Muslim Filipinos to keep their faith as they celebrate Eid’l Fitr or Festival of Breaking the Fast amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
In a statement on May 24, 2020, Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar acknowledged the challenge that comes after the month-long Ramadan fasting, but reminded the Muslim community to keep praising Allah.
“Although it was a challenge to abstain from sharing meals and praying together throughout the blessed month of Ramadan, may you all continue to praise Allah for bestowing upon you the strength and courage not only in obeying His commandments, but also in facing the effects of the pandemic,” he said.
He emphasized the importance of prayer in strengthening their commitment to Islamic virtues.
“May this renewed spiritual attainment strengthen your resilience and commitment to the exemplary Islamic virtues, especially at this time when we continue to face the challenges and uncertainty brought by the Covid-19 pandemic,” he added.
Andanar also reminded Muslim Filipinos to continue to observe the guidelines of their respective community quarantines and observe physical distancing during their celebration.
Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito G. Galvez Jr., like Andanar, recognized that this year’s observance of the holy month of Ramadan has been filled with challenges due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The health crisis has tested our resolve as individuals and as a people. Despite these trials, members of the Islamic faith have shown greater compassion, understanding, and solidarity, while observing the obligations and traditions in accordance with the fatwa of the Grand Mufti and the Darul Ifta,” he said.
He was hopeful that the Muslim community would keep helping and extending their prayers to the people and nation beyond the pandemic.
“As we continue to sustain the gains of peace in the Bangsamoro, may we also continue to help those who are most in need, and pray for the health and recovery of our nation as we heal as one,” he said.
Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Archie Gamboa, for his part, said Eid’l Fitr celebration should serve as time to reflect on how to strengthen “the bonds of unity and solidarity among Muslims and Christians”.
“Eid’l Fitr reminds us not of our differences, but of the ideals and goals that unite us as one people, as Filipinos seeking to rise above difficulties and to triumph in the midst of adversity,” he added.
On behalf of the PNP’s 205,000-strong officers, Gamboa also extended his “warmest greetings of Selamat Hariraya Puasa to all our Muslim brothers and sisters.”
“I regret that we cannot celebrate Eid’l Fitr this year like we traditionally do because of the ongoing health crisis but I am grateful for the understanding and cooperation of our Filipino Muslim communities,” he said. “Rest assured that the absence of celebration does not in any way diminish our respect for the customs that you greatly value and adhere to.”
President Rodrigo Duterte declared May 25 as a regular holiday for the observance of Eid’l Fitr through Proclamation No. 944.
“In order to bring the religious and cultural significance of Eid’l Fitr to the fore of national consciousness, it is necessary to declare Monday, 25 May 2020, a regular holiday throughout the country,” the proclamation read.
Eid’l Fitr is traditionally celebrated by families gathering in large congregation for an Eid prayer to express gratitude to Allah for having been able to perform their personal sacrifices.
Amid the prevailing health crisis, the proclamation also reminded the Muslim community to observe community quarantine and safe physical distancing measures. (Azer Parrocha with reports from Lloyd Caliwan, PNA)