Duterte gov't: Happy birthday, Pope Francis!
MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang joined the rest of the world on Saturday, December 17, in greeting Pope Francis on his 80th birthday.
Palace Communications Secretary Martin Andanar conveyed the Palace greeting to Francis.
"We wish Pope Francis good health and good humor as he continues to guide us to build a more humane world. Maligayang kaarawan sa Santo Papa (Happy birthday to the Holy Father)," Andanar said.
Andanar pointed out that "for more than 3 years as head of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis has successfully inspired people around the world with his humble example, concern for the poor, and strong attention on God's mercy."
"The people of the Philippines, home of Asia's largest Catholic population, remain grateful for the historic first visit of His Holiness to the country in 2015," he said.
"His touching homily in Tacloban has left an indelible memory in the hearts of thousands, especially survivors of Typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan," the spokesman added. (READ: Pope in Tacloban: 'I am here to be with you')
The greeting comes a year after Duterte cursed the Pope for creating heavy traffic during his trip to the Philippines from January 15 to 19, 2015.
Joking about the heavy traffic due to the papal visit, Duterte said in a speech on November 30, 2015: "Gusto kong tawagan: 'Pope, putang-ina ka, umuwi ka na. ‘Wag ka nang magbisita dito.'" (Pope, you son of a bitch, go home. Don’t visit here anymore.)
Bishops and other critics in the Philippines, where 8 out of 10 nationals belong to the Catholic Church, slammed Duterte for making these remarks.
Duterte eventually apologized for cursing the pontiff who turned 80 on Saturday. – Rappler.com