9TH RAY IN RP SUN'S FLAG ELATES MUSLIM COMMUNITY, PROMOTES NATIONAL UNITY
The approval of the Senate and the House of Representatives in a bicameral conference of the proposal adding a ninth ray to the sun in the Philippine Flag has elated different sectors of the Muslim community.
Senator Richard J. Gordon (Ind.), author of Senate Bill 3307 proposing the ninth ray, said Muslim Filipinos welcomed the bicam approval because it is expected to further promote respect, understanding, and acceptance between Muslim and non-Muslim Filipinos.
"This measure would further promote national unity. Our Muslim brothers hailed this act. They wanted to celebrate it for the Eid'l Fitr Festival last Monday because this is a great step in recognizing their role in the fight for the nation's independence. We owe it to our Muslim brothers who have contributed many things but have become totally marginalized," he said.
Atty. Pangnal Datu Ramos, legal counsel of the Bangsa Moro Civil Society and former Vice Governor of Lanao del Sur, said that Gordon's initiative displays his statesmanship and respect for the Filipino Muslims.
"The Bangsa Moro people will never forget Senator Dick Gordon's consistent advocacy of recognizing the heroic struggle for freedom of the Bangsa Moro people that led to the approval of the 9th ray in our country's national flag. Senator Gordon displays his statesmanship and respect for the Filipino Muslims, sorely lacking in our national leaders. May his tribe increase," Datu Ramos said.
For his part, Congressman Munir Arbison of the 2nd District of Sulu stated that "the people of Sulu thank Senator Gordon for his bill honoring Filipino Muslims who, history tells, have fought foreign intruders for hundreds of years to protect and preserve our unique and inspiring way of life."
Meanwhile, Datu Norodin Alonto Lucman, a Moro Historian, said that having the ninth ray makes him feel good "to be part of the Republic."
"I am so proud that after more than a century of non-recognition of our heroic ancestors who gave up their lives for the freedom of our country, the Senate finally added a 9th ray to the flag in honor of their heroism and historical role in the independence of our country," Lucman said.
Those who also expressed their elation over the measure include Bai Samirah Gutoc of the Young Moro Professionals Network; Ambassador Abul Khayr D. Alonto, Moro Leader and co-founder of the Moro National Liberation Front; Datu Haron Demarunsing of the Muslim Traders Group of Zamboanga; Assemblyman Zia Alonto Adiong of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Regional Legislative Assembly; Datu Mohammad Dimaporo Dimalna, Vice Mayor of Binidayan, Lanao del Sur; Atty. Aymee Biruar-Metmug from a group of young Moro lawyers; Norodin Bin Hashim, an overseas Filipino Worker in Qatar who is a member of the 9th Ray Mindanao Movement; and Datu Drieza Lininding, a Moro youth leader.
Gordon said that the warm welcome of many Muslims to the ninth ray implies that they already feel that they are gradually being respected, understood, and accepted.
He pointed out that it is important to recognize the efforts and contributions of the Muslim Filipinos in the country's history so that they would not feel marginalized and Filipinos would be united regardless of creed.
"With their courage, bravery and integrity, our Muslim heroes left an imprint on national history that, at the very least, must be given due recognition in the most heraldic item of national importance--the Philippine flag," Gordon said.