President Rodrigo Duterte’s ‘kissed on the ground’ gesture at the blast site in Jolo, Sulu on August 30 has earned praises from various Muslim personalities.
Datu Mussolini Lidasan, the executive director of the Al Qalam Institute, the research arm of the Ateneo de Davao University, said in an interview on Tuesday the gesture of the President showed the real intent of Duterte in building the nation.
“For us Muslims, the gesture of PRRD is what we call ‘Sujud’ or ‘to prostrate’. Bowing down and prostrating to Allah several times a day during daily prayer is a key element of our faith, and a sign of humility to Allah,” Lidasan told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).
He added that since 2016 when he was elected as the President, the President has “always been consistent” in bringing lasting peace in Mindanao.
This was evident, he said, with the passage of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), which he said reflected the President’s commitment to the Bangsamoro peace process.
Meanwhile, Jimmy Musa, Development Management Officer III of the Mindanao Development Authority’s (MinDA) Public Relations Division, said the gesture did not only show respect and condolences to the families of the victims and the wounded, but also as an acknowledgment to the “grief and sadness” of the Bangsamoro communities that have been longing and working hard for lasting peace in Mindanao.
“As a member of the Muslim community, it was a strong yet humble demonstration of huge respect to the bravery and sacrifices of the soldiers who were killed and the men continuously committing themselves to protect the people and secure our land,” Musa said.
Musa said the President’s gesture showed he was a “compassionate father who honored and has shown great love to his countrymen.”
On the other hand, Leebai Sinsuat Ambolodto, a media practitioner here, said the President performed the act of bowing as he conveyed his “sympathy not only to the victims but to the community and the country in general.”
It was not the first time, he noted, that Duterte did the “kiss and kneel”, which he is generally taken as “honoring and showing respect” for fellow Filipinos.
“As a Muslim and someone who knows how PRRD love and respects the religion, I give love and utmost respect to him. It showed compassion beyond measures. It was not needed (the act) but he did it,” Ambolodto said. (PNA)