By Ali Macabalang
KIDAPAWAN CITY – Ethnic Muslim communities in Central Mindanao joined the world’s estimated 1.7 billion believers of Islam, Tuesday, in celebrating Eid’l Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice).
Four Muslim communities in this city of majority Christians and lumad tribesmen held early morning congregational prayers in open fields for solemn prayers, asking mostly for global peace and interfaith harmony.
One congregational prayer was held in Barangay Amas, the seat of the North Cotabato provincial government, by close to 500 minority Muslim residents.
In Cotabato City, the seat of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), hundreds of government workers staged a prayer in the open field in front of the ARMM”s executive building. City hall officials led by Mayor Cynthia G. Sayadi hosted a separate prayer at the compound’s open field.
Imams in Cotabato City’s two mayor prayer assemblies included in their traditional sermons calls for enlightenment about the impending creation of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) in replacement of ARMM under RA 11054.
“Today’s eid (celebration) will be the last for ARMM,” Regional Education Secretary Rasol Mitmug Jr. told the The Manila Bulletin, citing the eventual transition of the 28-year old ARMM into the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
Eid’l Adha is one of two major feasts in Islam, the other being Eid’l Fitr which marks the end of Ramadhan fasting.
Eid’l Adha commemorates the acts of Prophet Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ismael in submission to God. It jives with the culmination of the annual pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia of millions of Muslims across the globe.
After eid prayer, Rasol said his office would treat hundreds of celebrants to a kanduli (food banquet) at the Lanao Sur mock village his agency built three months ago as an added highlight to the celebration Pakarajaan Festival 2018, an event marking commemorations for ARMM’s 29th founding anniversary in November this year.
Sources said supporters for the ratification of RA 11054 joined the congregational prayers in Cotabato City and sought for the inclusion of the city in the proposed BARMM.
RA 11054 is the legal translation of two major peace accords forged by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) with the government in 2013 and 2014. It seeks the abolition of ARNN and creation of BARMM as another entity designed to end decades of armed conflict in Southern Philippines.
A plebiscite will be held within 150 days upon the enactment of RA 11054 for voters in ARMM areas (Maguindanao, Lanao Sur, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi provinces as well as Marawi and Lamitan cities), Cotabato City, six towns in Lanao del Norte and 39 barangays in three North Cotabato towns to ratify the new law.
MILF officials have vowed to stage focal campaign for the inclusion of Cotabato City in the BARMM territory, saying the city is the bedrock of Muslim governance dating back from the reign of Sultan Kudarat in colonization eras.