“Let this celebration stand as a reminder that real change required the sacrifice of our personal interests in favor of the common good of our citizens,” Duterte said in a message on Sunday, September 11, a day before Eid’l Adha, an Islamic holiday and declared a regular holiday nationwide.
“The occasion reminds us of the virtues that strengthen the very foundation of Islam. I join you in commemorating the ultimate obedience and trust of Ibrahim when he submits to sacrifice his son, Ishmael, according to the will of Allah. The occasion truly invigorates our common aspirations and rekindles the true significance of our faith,” the Philippine president said in his message.
Duterte also said: “It is my dream to see our people, regardless of beliefs, join hands in building a united country for our children and the next generation.” He added that this “united country” can only be possible if we all sacrifice personal interests to give way to the common good—the welfare of the entire citizenry, regardless of religion or political ideology.
The country was rocked recently by controversies that tended to divide the nation. First was the Marcos burial issue where Marcos loyalists and anti-Marcos forces challenged each other on the merits of burying former President Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Taguig. Second was the big and hot issue on the drug-related extrajudicial killings in the country which seem to go on unabated and which have become the concern even of the international community and human rights organizations, including the United Nations.
Last but not least is the issue on Federalism. But some observers are eyeing on the impending execution of Mary Jane Veloso to be another issue that could divide the country anew. Veloso was arrested and charged in Indonesia in April 2010 for possession of illegal drugs and Duterte allegedly gave the go signal recently for her execution. No less than Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo disclosed that “President Duterte has given the go-ahead to proceed with the execution,” he was quoted by the Antara news agency (based in Serang, Banten) as saying.
Duterte, however, denied the allegation.
Nonetheless, the surveys show that President Duterte still enjoys popular support in the country, especially in the way he has been handling his anti-crime and illegal drugs campaign.
“I deeply appreciate your support to this government and its programs on the ongoing peace process,” Duterte later added, “especially in our efforts to realize equitable and sustainable development in Mindanao. It is my dream to see our people, regardless of beliefs, join hands in building a united country for our children and the next generation.”