By Masiding Noor Yahya
MARAWI CITY: The Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to the Philippines on Sunday joined the Eid Al Adha celebrations of the Muslim community in Lanao del Sur, one of the five provinces comprising the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
In his first visit to Lanao del Sur, Ambassador Hamad Saeed Al Zaabi led the distribution of beef in the temporary shelters at Barangay Sagonsongan in Marawi, the capital city of Lanao del Sur.
Some 19 cows were slaughtered in Marawi for the Eid festivities, also known as the ‘Festival of Sacrifice’. Muslims mark the Eid Al Adha by sacrificing animals and distributing the meat to their family and those in need.
Each family of the Sagonsongan Shelters that house displaced families affected by the 2017 Marawi Siege received at least a kilo of meat.
Two years ago, Dawla Islamiya-Inspired local terrorists Maute group laid siege on the city. It was pulverized in the five-month armed conflict between government forces and pro-Daesh militants who gained control of the city in May 2017.
The fierce battles displaced 350,000 or 98 per cent of the city’s population at the height of the conflict.
Two years on, some 50,000 residents are still unable to return to their homes. Rehabilitation plans have yet to gain momentum.
During his visit, Al Zaabi said the UAE embassy will launch projects in Marawi which include construction of a child and youth center, school rehabilitation, and an orphanage, the report said.
The ambassador also visited mosques in the most affected area of the Marawi siege, including the Jamiatu Mindanao Grand Mosque and Dansalan Mosque. The Dansalan Mosque also housed the biggest Arabic and Islamic school in Mindanao before the siege.
Al Zaabi also served as the guest at the Eid celebration in the nearby town of Tamparan.
A day earlier on Saturday, Ambassador Al Zaabi was the guest of honor in a luncheon forum tendered in his honor by Dr. Habib W. Macaayong, president of the state-run Mindanao State University System (MSU), at the university main campus in Marawi City. (MNY)