Respect for Muslim religion key to peace in Mindanao, says Legarda

by Jason de Asis


SENATE OFFICE, Manila, November 16, 2010- Genuine respect for the Muslim faith and religion is the key to resolve conflicting issues in Mindanao, Sen. Loren Legarda said yesterday.


Legarda said that as 1.57 billion Muslims worldwide celebrate today the Eid’l Adha—the Feast of Sacrifice that commemorates a story of dedication and obedience to God – Filipinos from other religious and other global citizens must accord the highest respect for the Muslim religion. 


Legarda explained that through the years, the government has been trying especially in the part of Mindanao to tackle contentious issues about ancestral domain and autonomy for the Muslims but this did not gain ground.“We have been trying to forge a peace deal with Moro groups, but we have not yet succeeded. And even if we did, peace cannot be attained through such a pact alone”, she said.  


She added that “with just a little effort to understand the faith of other people, we will realize that we share something in common,” she said of the Muslims.


Legarda co-authored Republic Act 9849 which commemorates Eid’l Adha. 


Legarda noted that since the Philippines is a predominantly Christian nation, it is incumbent upon Christians to accord the proper respect to other faiths and religions, as any democratic state ought to do. “This was precisely our motivation when we pushed the passage of a law that declares the tenth day of the month of Zhul Hijja as a national holiday to commemorate the Eid’l Adha,” she said.


“As Filipinos of different religions join Filipino Muslims in commemorating the Eid’l Adha, let us look at this occasion more than just another holiday we must enjoy. As a feast of major importance to the Islamic Faith, let us respect the celebration as a sign of our acceptance to our Muslim brothers and sisters, “Legarda concluded. (Jason de Asis)