Duterte says Muslims are ‘instruments of love’

Filipino Muslim children kiss their mother as they pose for pictures after Eid Al-Fitr prayers in Philippine capital Manila on Wednesday. (AP)
Updated 05 June 2019

Duterte says Muslims are ‘instruments of love’

  • Philippines president says he has Muslim ancestry

MANILA: Muslims are “instruments of love,” the Philippines president said Wednesday as he urged them to promote peace in the country and wished them a happy Eid Al-Fitr.

President Rodrigo Duterte, who says he has Muslim ancestry, earlier this week declared June 5 a public holiday in observance of the festival marking the end of Ramadan.

A proclamation signed by Duterte said the whole country should have the opportunity to join their “Muslim brothers and sisters in peace and harmony” in the observance and celebration of Eid Al-Fitr, although the country is mostly Roman Catholic.

In his Eid message Duterte said: “The Filipino nation joins them as they offer prayers of praise and thanksgiving as well as demonstrate the virtues of the Islamic faith in accordance with the teachings of Allah through the Qur’an. May all Muslim Filipinos observe this day as a time for reflection, enlightenment and renewal of commitment to a much stronger devotion to the Almighty.”

He called on Muslim Filipinos “to take (the occasion) as an opportunity to deepen (their) role as instruments of love, sacrifice, respect and selfless service.”

“May each of you remain our government’s partner in promoting peace and understanding among Filipinos from all walks of life,” he added.

Duterte last year unveiled a law granting greater autonomy to the country’s Muslim south in a bid to end decades of bloody separatist conflict.

The law enforced a historic but fragile 2014 peace deal where the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) vowed to give up its quest for an independent homeland and lay down its fighters’ weapons in return for self-rule. 

The rebellion has claimed around 150,000 lives in the Mindanao region since the 1970s.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana also extended Eid greetings to Muslims.

“In observance of Eid Al-Fitr, we also celebrate the spirit of social healing, reconciliation, and unity. Let us therefore continue to work together as one nation to ensure the implementation of the Bangsamoro Organic Law,” he said.

In Marawi, the country’s the only Islamic city, the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) said thousands of residents had gathered at Mindanao State University to celebrate Eid Al-Fitr.

OPAPP, through its Duyog Ramadan program, joined residents who were celebrating the end of Ramadan.

Duyog Ramadan is a multi-stakeholder effort spearheaded by OPAPP that aims to promote social healing and reconciliation following a 2017 battle that lasted five months, killed 1,200 people and leveled much of Marawi.

Art workshops and the distribution of Ramadan food packages were among the activities carried out by OPAPP in collaboration with the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Task Force Bangon Marawi and the provincial government of Lanao del Sur as part of the program.


Indian govt slammed over poor ranking in global hunger index

Visitors try out food at 'Bengaluru Aaharotsava', a 3-day vegetarian food festival, in Bangalore on October 18, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 19 October 2019

Indian govt slammed over poor ranking in global hunger index

  • This ranking reveals a colossal failure in Govt policy and blows the lid off the PM’s hollow ‘sabka vikas’ (development for all) claim,” tweeted Rahul Gandhi, who leads the opposition Congress party

NEW DELHI: India’s poor rating in the Global Hunger Index (GHI) has come in for sharp criticism, with the opposition calling it a “colossal failure of government policy.”
The GHI showed that India ranked 102 in the database of 117 nations and trailed its smaller South Asian neighbors Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal. In 2000, India ranked 83 out of 113 nations.
The index is designed to measure and track hunger at a global, regional, and national level. The report, which was released on Wednesday, was a joint effort between Irish aid agency Concern Worldwide and German organization Welt Hunger Hilfe.
“This ranking reveals a colossal failure in Govt policy and blows the lid off the PM’s hollow ‘sabka vikas’ (development for all) claim,” tweeted Rahul Gandhi, who leads the opposition Congress party.
Thomas Isaac, finance minister in the southern state of Kerala, said: “The slide started with PM (Narendra) Modi’s ascension. In 2014 India was ranked 55. In 2017 it slipped to 100 and now to the levels of Niger and Sierra Leone. The majority of the world’s hungry now resides in India.”
The GHI score is based on four indicators — undernourishment; child wasting (children below five who have a low weight for their height, reflecting acute undernutrition); child stunting, (children under the age of five who have low height for their age, reflecting chronic undernutrition); and child mortality, the mortality rate of children under the age of five.
“India’s child wasting rate is extremely high at 20.8 percent, the highest for any country,” the report said. It added that, with a score of 30.3, India suffered from a level of hunger that was serious.

BACKGROUND

The Global Hunger Index showed that India ranked 102 in the database of 117 nations and trailed its smaller South Asian neighbors Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal. In 2000, India ranked 83 out of 113 nations.

International NGO Save the Children  said the government needed to focus on wasting and stunting. Other low- and middle-income countries in the world which are faring better have actually scored better than India in those two areas, it added.
“There are nearly 1.8 million children in the country who are wasting and for that we will need comprehensive interventions, including the provision of therapeutic foods for such children to be managed at a community level,” it told Arab News.
The NGO warned of serious social consequences, with wasting leading to impaired cognitive ability and poor learning outcomes. “Furthermore, for underweight and stunted girls, it invokes a vicious cycle whereby initial malnutrition with early child-bearing gets translated into poor reproductive health outcomes.”
Arab News contacted the Child and Family Welfare Ministry for comment but did not get a response.
Nepal ranks 73 in the index, Sri Lanka is placed at 66, Bangladesh is in 88th place, Myanmar is at the 69th spot and Pakistan ranks 94.
The GHI said these countries were also in the serious hunger category, but that their citizens fared better than India’s.