Turkish-European group gives food to Philippine Muslims


Muslim organization Hasene IGMG gives humanitarian assistance for Ramadan in Philippines’ Muslim south

By Hader Glang

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines  – A Turkish-European organization has distributed almost Php 1.5 million ($33,400) in Ramadan food packages to over a thousand needy Muslims in the Philippines’ southern island province of Basilan.

Thursday’s donation is part of Muslim organization Hasene IGMG’s special humanitarian assistance during the Islamic fasting month, the group said in statement

Hasene IGMG is a not-for-profit organisation set up by Turkish people working in Germany. 

The event saw team leader Orhan Atakan, Kemal Sagdic and Bilal Kilic personally hand out Php 1,433,487.40 worth of food items to more than 1,000 poor Muslim families at two locations in the cities of Isabela and Lamitan.

“Hasene Ramadan Food Package Campaign 2015” project documenter Ahmad Al-Amin said in a statement that the beneficiaries of the items included widows, orphanages, people with disabilities and poor families with five or more dependents.

Each package contained 10 kilograms of rice, six packs of sardines, one pack of noodles, 10 packets of coffee, 5 kilograms of sugar, 3 kilograms of flour, 1 kilograms salt, 1 pack of juice drinks, 1 bottle of soy sauce, 1 pack of baking powder, and a pack of cooking oil.

It was the second such donation following last year’s distribution of food packages to thousands of internally displaced people in Maluso, Basilan following fighting with rebel groups.

On Thursday, more than 7 million Muslims in the Philippines’ started fasting in observance with one of the five pillars of Islam.

From Thursday, the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) government has adjusted the working hours of Muslim employees, from 7 a.m. (0000GMT) to 3 p.m. This schedule will last until Eid al-Fitr – the feast of breaking the fast – on July 17 or 18.

In his Ramadan message, Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu said: “Let’s keep praying for peace and for the success of the peace efforts of the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) during this holy month.”

On March 27, 2014, the government and MILF peace panels signed the CAB – Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro – which serves as a final peace agreement after 17 long years of on-and-off and often intractable negotiations.

Despite a symbolic arms decommissioning taking place on Tuesday, a law that legalizes the creation of a new region to replace the existing ARMM is at a standstill, discussions locked in parliament. 

Earlier, ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman said Muslim employees are allowed to leave office and workplace at 3 p.m. to allow them to prepare for the breaking of the fasting at 6 p.m.

They are required to report for work at 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. without noon break.

“Let us take this opportunity to spread the message of love, compassion, and peace among us and to our non-Muslim brothers and sisters in Mindanao, the Philippines, and across the world,” Hataman said in his Ramadan message.