Press Release
August 11, 2010

Amid calls for prayers and peace across the country

"Allah is great. Ahlan Wahsallam Ramadhan!," Senator Teofisto "TG" Guingona III greeted Muslims all over the country as the Muslim world started the month-long celebration of Ramadan yesterday.

"I extend my greetings to our Muslim brothers across the nation as they observe the holy month of Ramadan. I urge all our Muslim brothers as well as the rest of the Christian world to pray for true lasting peace especially in Mindanao ," Sen. Guingona said.

"As we join in the celebration of the Muslims' Holiest Month, may all of us realize the sorrow and hardship of those who face hunger and starvation, year after year, with no place to live, no home to come home to, just like the evacuees and the internally displaced persons affected by the seemingly unending conflict in Central Mindanao," he added.

Guingona also called for peace, following the military's appeal for the resumption of the peace negotiations which would end the decades-old war with Muslim secessionists. Meanwhile, a Moro Islamic liberation Front (MILF) leader announced that they were ready to resume the peace talks with the government after the observance of Ramadan in September.

As a staunch peace advocate, Sen. Guingona welcomed this development, saying that both the government and the MILF's commitment to reach a peace agreement is a first step towards the attainment of peace in the region.

"Let us all work together for a true and genuine peace not only in Mindanao but in the rest of the country as well. I commend our Muslim brothers for their willingness to sit down and discuss peace with the national government. I also commend our men in uniform because of their desire to end the war in the South. After all is said and done, we are Filipinos. Muslims and Christians, lumads and ethnics - we are all brothers under the skin," Guingona stated.

The solon added, "May we Christians and Muslims embrace Sabr (Arabic) which means patience, one of the essence of Ramadhan, (Sabr (patience) is mentioned in over 90 places in the Quran), as we walk the road for peace in Mindanao . May we keep Sabr in our hearts and minds until we arrive at the final and peaceful solution for the challenges in Mindanao ."

Ramadan, the ninth and holiest month in the Islamic calendar, marks the month during which God, through the angel Gibril (Gabreal), revealed the Qur'an to the Prophet Muhammad. During this 30-day period, believers will abstain from eating, drinking, smoking and having sex from dawn to dusk.

"O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become God-fearing." The Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) said: Whoever fasts during Ramadan with faith and seeking his reward from Allah will have his past sins forgiven. Whoever prays during the nights in Ramadan with faith and seeking his reward from Allah will have his past sins forgiven. And he who passes Lailat al-Qadr in prayer with faith and seeking his reward from Allah will have his past sins forgiven (Bukhari, Muslim)," ended Guingona, quoting from Chapter 2 Verse 183 of the Holy Qu'ran.

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