President Rodrigo Duterte urged Filipinos to “promote solidarity” as he joined Muslims in marking the first day of Ramadan.

“As we mark this holy occasion, I ask everyone to promote solidarity among all Filipinos by manifesting faith through action and by fostering peace, hope and unity as we face the most challenging of times,” he said in his message.

“Let us all come together and channel the spirit of Ramadan by helping those who are less fortunate and most in need,” he added.

Duterte said he hoped Filipinos could move forward with “courage, hope, and optimism as the blessings of Ramadan bring peace and prosperity to the entire nation.”

Ramadan, the holiest month for Muslims, starts on April 13.

About 6 percent of the Philippine population is Muslim.

During Ramadan, Muslims abstain from food and drink from dawn to dusk for 30 days, with the exception of early meals known as suhur and evening meals called iftar. John Ezekiel J. Hirro