Rebuilt PH biggest mosque turned over in Marawi; Management board inducted

By Ali G. Macabalang

PRESIDENTIAL INAUGURATION. President Duterte leads the inauguration of the newly rebuilt Marawi City Grand Mosque which was devastated by the 2017 Marawi siege. TFBM Chairman Eduardo Del Rosario, Sen. Christopher Lawrence ” Bong ” Tesoro Go, NCMF Secretary Saidamen Pangarungan, Lanao del Sur Gov. Mamintal “Bombit” Alonto-Adiong Jr., and Marawi City Mayor Majul Gandamra join the President in the formal reopening of the edifice. (Online-derived photo)

Marawi City’s grand mosque, the biggest place of Islamic worship in the Philippines, has been rebuilt in better shape, with its management leadership restored to the founding Pangarungan clan that built it over half a century ago.

National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) Secretary Saidamen Balt Pangarungan heralded the good news in a statement sent to the Philippine Muslim Today news lately.

The mosque, officially known as Jameo Mindanao Al-Islamie Islamic Center and one of thousands of edifices ruined in the infamous May 23, 2017, has been rebuilt by the national government through the Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM) amid continued cry by displaced residents for homecoming to restart life.

The mosque’s protracted reconstruction works entailing untold sum of funds were fully completed last Oct. 16, with President Rodrigo Duterte personally setting foot at the Marawi Ground Zero (MMA) to inaugurate the edifice on the same day in deference to its value to the Islamic world, Sec. Pangarungan said.

The NCMF chief alongside Senator Bong Go, TFBM Chairman Eduardo Del Rosario, Lanao del Sur Gov. Mamintal “Bombit” Alonto-Adiong Jr., and Marawi City Mayor Majul Gandamra joined the President in the formal reopening of the edifice.

Four other mosques in the war-torn city – Masjid Disomangcop, Masjid Darussalam, Marinaut Mosque and the White Mosque – were also fully completed from reconstruction. But the President took time to reopen the Grand Mosque, it being the “crown jewel of Marawi City,” according to TFBM and Sec. Pangarungan.

Last Dec. 2, stakeholders organized a management board over the Grand Mosque’s operations, with the TFBM chief inducting Sheikh Abdul Pangarungan as chair. Among the inducted Board members were Sec. Pangarungan, Gov. Adiong and Mayor Gandamra.

Sec. Del Rosario and the inducted officials took turns in expressing commitment for meaningful reactivation of the Grand Mosque during the oath-taking rights.

In his message, Sec. Pangarungan echoed the President’s call for continued “cooperation among stakeholders so that Marawi will be able to build back better and stronger.”

“We, the Pangarungan family, are taking the President’s (call) to heart by becoming stewards of the centerpiece of religious, cultural, and historical significance to the heart of my fellow Marawians, as the Marawi Grand Mosque is appropriately dubbed as the “Crown Jewel of Marawi,” he said.

He narrated the history behind the inception of the Grand Mosque, saying it began in the “1950s when I was in my high school years (under) the care of my great grandfather Datu Pangarungan Disalongan.”

“The first undivided Lanao Gov. Salvador Lluch suggested to my great grandfather Datu Pangarungan Disalongan to build a grand mosque in his land in Marawi with his assurance of full support. Datu Pangarungan obliged and built the Islamic Center or Grand Mosque in his chosen land at the Pangarungan Village where it now stands,” he recalled.

He added: “The people of Marawi and Lanao enthusiastically contributed and donated to build the mosque. When nearing completion, Datu Pangarungan asked his favorite adopted son the then Atty. Domocao Alonto , whom I have idolized as a statesman and Muslim leader, to administer and manage the Islamic Center.”

The legendary Alonto accepted the responsibility and ran the mosque until he was elected Senator and bequeathed the mosque administration to his younger brother the late Gov. Madki “Abdulgafur” Alonto,” Pangarungan said.

“In 2003, the late Gov. Madki Alonto told me that it was the wish of his brother Senator before (his demise) to return the Islamic Center (management) to the Pangarungan family. Then he offered to relinquish to me the presidency of the mosque. I politely declined because I was then very preoccupied in Manila with my law practice,” he said.

“I recommended my granduncle Abdul Pangarungan as president, and the late governor agreed. Abdul Pangarungan was elected and reelected Islamic Center president …by the board and general membership, which was incorporated to run the affairs of the grand mosque,” the NCMF recalled.

The Marawi Grand Mosque is the country’s biggest place of Islamic worship, consisting of three floors with a basement. It has a total floor area of 9,484 square meters, which can accommodate up to 20,000 worshippers at any given time. It is bigger than the Sultan Bolkiah Mosque or the Cotabato Grand Mosque, which has a floor area of 5,000 square meters or almost one-half of the Marawi Grand Mosque’s, Sec. Pangarungan said.

“In behalf of the Pangarungan family, we honor the great people of Lanao and Marawi for their valuable contributions and donations in funding the construction of this mosque; We pay tribute to the late Senator Ahmad Domocao Alonto and Gov. Abdul Gafur Madki Alonto in steering the administration of the mosque in four decades and in graciously returning the mosque to the Pangarungan family,” he said.

“For their affable acts and sense of justice, we offer the vice presidency and two board seats of the mosque to their heirs; and our salutations to our patriarch Datu Pangarungan Disalongan in leading the original construction of this mosque in his own choice land at the Pangarungan Village where it now stands,” he added.

Sec. Pangarungan aired “our profoundest and sincerest thanks to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, to TFBM chairman Secretary Eduardo Del Rosario, for the splendid job of beautifully repairing the mosque, together with all the men and women of Task Force Bangon Marawi.”

“You have embodied, in the months of rebuilding the Marawi Grand Mosque and 15 other mosques ruined during the siege of Marawi, the aspiration of every person who calls Marawi their home and you delivered. You have translated the President’s concern and love of the Muslim Filipinos of Marawi,” Pangarungan said for the TFBM circle.

He said the government’s rebuilding efforts, especially for the religious shrines, “will forever remain not only as a beacon of public service achievement but will also be remembered fondly by the people who have been given hope and restored by the task force’s accomplishments.” (AGM)

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