MANILA – Palace officials are urging Filipinos to share their blessings with those affected by tragedies and to observe minimum health standards while celebrating Christmas during the pandemic.
In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said while the country has confronted struggles this year, there were “silver linings” that the people could be thankful for.
“Our country struggles to confront the various challenges that we faced this year. The pandemic and the natural disasters brought fear and sadness but during these difficult times, we heal and recover as one. Amid these challenges, there are silver linings that we can be thankful for,” Roque said.
He expressed hope that Christmas this year would be filled with hope, peace, and joy.
“As we celebrate this season, we call upon all Filipinos to remember to share our blessings to our brothers and sisters who have been badly affected by natural or personal tragedies,” Roque said.
He also asked Filipinos to give more compassion, understanding, and patience.
“It is high time that we collectively unite as one nation and one people for a better Philippines,” Roque said, wishing all a safe and peaceful Christmas.
Like Roque, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar enjoined Filipinos to embody the “bayanihan” spirit by giving to those in need.
“Christmas is the time of the year when we remember and celebrate the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ,” Andanar said in a separate statement.
“Let us also take time from our merrymaking to solemnly reflect and ponder over the lessons and morals we can learn from the Bible about Christ’s birth, and practice the humility, compassion, and kindness Christ has displayed.”
He also reminded Filipinos to follow health protocols and minimum health standards while spending the holidays with their families at a limited capacity or virtually.
“May everyone keep in mind and observe the necessary health protocols and minimum health standards during the Yuletide season, in line with our fight against Covid-19, for us to heal and recover as one nation,” Andanar said.
He extended his warmest greetings to all Filipinos here and around the world who will be celebrating Christmas.
Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the security sector would keep the holidays safe for the public.
“Makakaasa naman ang sambayanan na ang inyong One Defense Team ay patuloy na magsusumikap na makamtan ang kapayapaan sa ating mga komunidad at mapangalagaan ang kaligtasan ng bansa para sa mas maunlad na kinabukasan para sa lahat (The entire nation can rest assured that their One Defense Team would do its best to achieve peace in our communities and secure the nation for a prosperous future for all),” Lorenzana said in a statement.
In these trying times, he said, Christmas brings hope and a fresh start as the season’s highlight is the birth of Jesus Christ.
“Marami rin sa atin ang dumanas ng kalamidad, na hanggang sa kasalukuyan ay hindi pa ganap na nakakabangon. Kung kaya para sa marami nating kababayan, ang pag-asa para sa bagong simula at malasakit sa ating kapwa Pilipino ang naging tunay na diwa ng Pasko ngayong taon (A lot of our people have also suffered from natural calamities and have yet to recover. To many of our countrymen, the hope for a fresh start and compassion for our fellow Filipinos are the true essence of Christmas this year),” Lorenzana said.
He likewise urged the public to adhere to the minimum health standards to prevent a post-holiday surge in Covid-19 infections.
December 25 (Christmas day) was declared as a regular holiday under Proclamation 845 while December 24 (Christmas eve) was declared as a special non-working holiday. (With Priam F. Nepomuceno/PNA)