Filipino Muslim women take "selfie" before the start of morning prayers during Eid al-Fitr holiday, marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan, outside the Blue Mosque in Taguig, Metro Manila in the Philippines July 17, 2015. (MNS photo)

Filipino Muslim women take “selfie” before the start of morning prayers during Eid al-Fitr holiday, marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan, outside the Blue Mosque in Taguig, Metro Manila in the Philippines July 17, 2015. (MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) — President Benigno Aquino III on Friday expressed hope for lasting peace in Mindanao as the country observes Eid’l Fitr, the culmination of the Holy Month of Ramadan.

In his message, Aquino noted that the celebration of Eid’l Fitr this year “comes at a most auspicious time when our country is finally nearing its goal of achieving genuine, lasting peace in Mindanao.”

“Like your festival, this is the much awaited end to a long, protracted period of reflection, sacrifice and the rediscovery of the values that our nation and our people cherish,” the President said.

Muslim residents offer their morning prayers at a park in a slum area in Tondo, metro Manila July 17, 2015. Muslims all over the world celebrate Eid al-Fitr as the holy month of Ramadan comes to an end on Friday. (MNS photo)

Muslim residents offer their morning prayers at a park in a slum area in Tondo, metro Manila July 17, 2015. Muslims all over the world celebrate Eid al-Fitr as the holy month of Ramadan comes to an end on Friday. (MNS photo)

He said that Filipinos should emerge as “better citizens” in the quest for peace in Mindanao.

“May peace and unity prevail our lands and waters, as we proceed to the next chapter of our journey on the straight and righteous path towards a more equitably progressive future,” Aquino said.

The President also wished Muslim Filipinos stronger faith, body and spirit as they commemorate Eid’l Fitr, an annual national holiday.

The Aquino administration’s primary effort towards peace in Mindanao, the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), is still pending before Congress.

Muslim residents offer their morning prayers at a park in a slum area in Tondo, metro Manila July 17, 2015. Muslims all over the world celebrate Eid al-Fitr as the holy month of Ramadan comes to an end on Friday. (MNS photo)

Muslim residents offer their morning prayers at a park in a slum area in Tondo, metro Manila July 17, 2015. Muslims all over the world celebrate Eid al-Fitr as the holy month of Ramadan comes to an end on Friday. (MNS photo)

The measure faced skepticism over the past months following the botched Jan. 25 Mamasapano operation, which left over 60 people killed including 44 police commandos.

The BBL, which embodies the peace deal between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), seeks to create a new Bangsamoro political entity to replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.(MNS)