MANILA: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has declared June 5 a public holiday in observance of Eid Al-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan.
Although the Philippines is a largely Catholic country, a proclamation signed by Duterte stated: “The entire Filipino nation should have the full opportunity to join their Muslim brothers and sisters in peace and harmony in the observance and celebration of Eid Al-Fitr.”
It said the aim of the decision is “to bring the religious and cultural significance of Eid Al-Fitr to the fore of national consciousness.”
Meanwhile, the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) announced that a shipment of donated dates from Saudi Arabia had arrived at its central office.
A meeting was held to determine the method of distribution, and NCMF Secretary Saidamen Pangarungan gave instructions on how to divide the 1,250 boxes of dates among various regions and provinces. Each box contains 10 packs of dates.
A ceremonial handover of the 60 metric tons of pressed dates, as a gift to the Philippine government and people, was held at the Saudi Embassy in Makati City last Monday.
The Saudi ambassador to the Philippines, Dr. Abdullah Al-Bussairy, handed over the dates to NCMF representatives and the Department of Foreign Affairs.
Representatives from the Saudi Finance Ministry and the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) witnessed the handover.
Last year, Saudi Arabia donated the same amount of dates to the Philippine government and Red Cross as a “humanitarian gesture” to the Filipino people. Saudi officials said the dates are an affirmation of the depth of bilateral relations.