MANILA — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Thursday greeted the Muslim community in the Philippines as they marked the observance of Ramadan.
In his message, Marcos said that he was joining Filipino Muslims as they "purify their souls against the perils of worldly pleasures as well as seek for forgiveness and peace."
"This season of fasting, prayer, and almsgiving is an opportune time to embody the values of discipline, reverence, and humility," he said.
As the holy month starts, Marcos called on Filipinos to include in their prayers "those who are in deep distress caused by hunger, natural calamities, and unfavorable circumstances."
He also described Ramadan as a reminder of "our shared moral obligation... to compassionately take care of each other, uphold our human dignity, and stand in solidarity," regardless of whatever faith Filipinos adhered to.
"As a nation enriched with cultural diversity, let us allow our hearts to embrace the profound truth that respect conquers divisions, understanding obliterates prejudice and love prevails over all," he added.
The Bangsamoro Darul Ifta, the Islamic advisory council of the Bangsamoro Region, earlier declared that the observance of Ramadan would begin Thursday.
Ramadan, considered one of the pillars of Islam, is observed by over 1.7 billion Muslims across the world through fasting and praying.
During this period, Muslims refrain from eating and drinking from sunrise to sunset, except for those who have health problems.
Muslims also abstain from smoking and engaging in any sexual activity during this holy month.
Eid al-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan and is celebrated during the first three days of Shawwal, the 10th month of the Islamic calendar.
— With report from Erik Tenedero, ABS-CBN News