Cotabato City―In their last “Feast of Sacrifice” Tuesday after 29 years, workers of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao were asked to instead support the installation of a Bangsamoro setup, even if it meant losing their jobs.
Alzad Sattar, assistant secretary of the ARMM Department of Education, delivered the Eidl Adha or Feast of Sacrifice sermon before thousands of employees who feared they could lose their jobs after Congress passed Republic Act 11054, the Bangsamoro Organic Law, and its signing into law by President Rodrigo Duterte.
ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman said the essence of Eidl Adha was to recall and even reenact the sacrifices of Abraham and his family thousands of years ago.
Eidl Adha is already a regular holiday, but Malacañang declared Aug. 21 again as a non-working holiday pursuant to Republic Act 9849, the law providing for the inclusion of two Muslim festivities (Eidl Fitr and Eidl Adha) as part of the country’s national holidays
This Feast of Sacrifice turns out to be ARMM’s last as a plebiscite on the BOL is set in November. The region, however, is currently hosting different tribal festivities in five representative villages of its seven major constituencies―Yakan, Maranao, Maguindanaon, Taosug, Sama, Indigenous Peoples and Filipino Chinese communities.
“We, my own family and the ARMM family have agreed to hold the prayer and the occasion here,” Hataman told reporters in Filipino.
Reorganization is in the offing in ARMM with a Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao created by the BOL (Republic Act 11054) imminently replacing it, and is seen to displace more than 6,000 rank-and-file or more employees.
Affected among 26,000 workers are Muslim and Christian employees of the Offices of the Regional Governor, Regional Vice-Governor, regional line agencies and the Regional Legislative Assembly.
Millions of Muslims who perform the hajj pilgrimage in Islam’s holy cities of Makkah and Madina ceremonially reenact the experience of Nabi Ibrahim (Abraham), Nabi Ishmael (Ishmael) and his mother Hajara (Hajar) from Makkah to Muzdalifah and to Arafa and Mina in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
In the Hajj season, Sattar said, Muslim pilgrims from all over the world have to pay tribute to a woman’s sacrifice in Hagar’s frantic search for water between the Hills of Safa Al-Marwa in the ancient shrine that is now the Haram Mosque, where gushed forth a spring that gave Abraham’s family and many generations after them palatable water to drink―the Zamzam―which still flows to this day.
Comparatively, the events read in the Qur’an are also mentioned in Genesis 14:16 in which Hagar is said to have run between the ancient hills of Kadesh and Bered, as Abraham “journeyed from thence (Philistine) toward the south country…” (Genesis 20:1)
Sattar said if a prophet like Abraham could sacrifice his son in the Name of God, then why could not the ARMM workers sacrifice their work in the name of unity for lasting peace?
He recalled to them that Ibrahim (Abraham) was the seed of the blood lineage of the prophets of God, starting with Ishmael and Ishak (Isaac)―both Abraham’s sons.
Sattar said descended from Isaac were the Hebrew prophets including Musa (Moses) who taught the Torah, the seed of Judaism. Jesus, also among Isaac’s descendants, brought in the Gospel that started Christianity.
‘‘So Judaism, Christianity and Islam are cousins,’’ said Sattar, who is also a member of the ARMM Panel of consultants composed of Muslim scholars who officially constitute the Regional Dharul Ifta (House of Opinion).
However, in a forum lawyer Naguib Sinarimbo, who backstopped the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Peace Panel, allayed the employees’ fear of losing their jobs, saying there would be no outright termination of ARMM employees under the BARMM.
The ARMM government has set a series of forums here for different sectors on understanding the BOL in an open dialogue and question-and-answer format with resource persons.
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