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6th ID to open camp for July 6 Eid outdoor worship rite

BANGSAMORO NEWS UPDATES • 01:11 AM Wed Jul 6, 2016
John Unson
Christian personnel of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division spruce up the venue for Wednesday’s Islamic Eid’l Fitr outdoor prayer in Camp Siongco. (JOHN UNSON)

CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao -- The Army’s predominantly Christian 6th Infantry Division will open this military camp on Wednesday for an Eid’l Fitr congregational prayer, something so peculiarly new for local Muslim folks.Public officials and ranking clerics in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) were elated with 6th ID’s gesture, planned by its commander, Major Gen. Edmundo Pangilinan, a military peace-activist.Captain Joann Petinglay, spokesperson of 6th ID, on Tuesday said it is first time for the division to host an outdoor Eid congregational prayer for Muslims from around the camp and nearby towns.The 6th ID, operating for more than two decades now and have had hundreds of bloody encounters with secessionist rebels, covers the provinces of Maguindanao, North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and parts of Lanao del Sur.Camp Siongco, the largest military installation in Central Mindanao, is located in northwest of Datu Odin Sinsuat town in the first district of Maguindanao. We have 800 Muslim soldiers in the division and our commander wants to show to them that religions should not set boundaries among us. We are all siblings, believing in one God,” Petinglay said.Pangilinan, who graduated from the Philippine Military Academy in 1983, was deputy commander for the southern peace process of the Western Mindanao Command in Zamboanga City prior to his assumption as 6th ID’s commanding general about two years ago.The 6th ID has actively been supporting Malacañang’s peace overtures with Moro secessionist groups.There has not been a single encounter since 2010 between units of 6th ID and guerillas of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in all areas in Central Mindanao that are covered by the ceasefire accord between the MILF and the government.Gov. Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao on Tuesday said the Eid’l Fitr initiative of 6th ID, whose officers are mostly Christians, will convince the Moro communities of its dedication and sincerity in helping push the Mindanao peace process forward. It’s something so laudable. Worthy of emulation by other major military units in the autonomous region,” Hataman said.The ARMM regional government has political and administrative jurisdiction over Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur, which are both in mainland Mindanao, and the island provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, common bastions of the MILF and the Moro National Liberation Front.Pangilinan said the 6th ID recognizes the importance of interfaith camaraderie among its Muslim and non-Muslim personnel. It will help ensure the efficiency of our peace and development programs for all sectors, the Christians, the Muslims and the Lumad people inside our area of responsibility,” Pangilinan said. Pangilinan said they also let Muslim soldiers join, along with their families, in banquets in Camp Siongco during Christmas Day as part of an effort to foster co-existence between them and their non-Muslim companions. The Eid’l Fitr, marking the culmination of the Ramadhan fasting season, which lasts for one lunar cycle, about 28 to 29 days, is an important religious holiday for Muslims.Muslims fast from dawn to dusk during the Ramadhan both as a religious obligation and reparation for wrongdoings.



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