PHILIPPINE National Police (PNP) Chief Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa called for peace and unity as he greeted Muslims worldwide “Assalamu Allaikum” in celebration of “Eid’l al-Adha” or the “Feast of Sacrifice” on Friday.
“On behalf of the men and women of the Philippine National Police, I extend my warmest greetings to our beloved Filipino Muslim brothers and sisters and to the International Muslim community,” de la Rosa said in a statement.
De la Rosa made an example of “Ibrahim”, a prophet in Islam tradition and a central figure in Christianity, to show the public the importance of “sacrifice” in “submitting ourselves to Him always”.
“Ibrahim proved that his love for God superseded everything and that he would give up his life or those of his loved ones for the sake of the Lord,” de la Rosa said.
De la Rosa called on all Filipinos to pray in unity despite different religious beliefs in the quest for peace under one country and one nation as embodied in the message of Eid’l al-Adha.
“We hope and pray that all Filipinos of diverse beliefs will be one in the common quest for peace, harmony and progress under a firm conviction to One Almighty God, one country and one nation as embodied in the message of Eid’l Al-Adha,” de la Rosa said.
“Again, my warmest greetings and sincere wishes as you celebrate Eid’l Al-Adha. I pray that peace and unity will finally come to our country,” de la Rosa added.
De la Rosa issued the call for unity amid the ongoing fighting in Marawi City where some of his own policemen have been deployed to support the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in quelling a rebellion by IS-inspired Maute terrorists.
The Maute attacks in Marawi started on May 23 as government troops tried but failed to serve an arrest warrant against Islamist extremist leader Isnilon Hapilon, the appointed “emir” of a caliphate that the group wanted to establish towards an independent state in the southern Philippines.
This “act of rebellion” prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to declare martial law in the entire Mindanao, which Congress extended until the end of 2017.
To date, the military said the defeat of the Maute group was imminent and that the 100-day-old siege was close to being over. RJ CARBONELL