MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – What’s President Rodrigo Duterte’s wish for Christmas? Peace, order, and progress for the Philippines.
Malacañang on Saturday, December 24, released a video of the President’s Christmas message to Filipinos.
In the video, Duterte called on his fellow countrymen to be more compassionate as they celebrate the Yuletide season.
“My beloved countrymen, as we remember the birth of our savior Jesus Christ, let us celebrate the genuine compassion and desire to foster hope in our hearts,” he said.
He added that the country should welcome 2017 with “great happiness.”
‘Peace and generosity’
Duterte’s video message was followed by a written message released by Malacañang on Christmas Eve.
In his written message, the President emphasized that the Philippines’ celebration of Christmas – “the world’s longest” – shows that the country is peace-loving.
“The true essence of Christmas is, thus, built on the message of both peace and generosity. Peace remains as one of my main thrusts in governance. We, in the government, are walking the extra mile to offer the olive branch of peace to all,” Duterte said.
The President also vowed to boost economic growth and address poverty.
“Generosity, on the other hand, is sharing what we have with the poor, the downtrodden, and the marginalized. As your President, I will bring food on the table; create more job opportunities; and make our people feel safer and more comfortable,” he said.
Pimentel: Support the president’s plans
In his own Christmas message, Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III called on the public to support Duterte’s plans and policies, such as the unilateral declaration of a ceasefire with communist rebels.
“At no time in 4 decades has our nation been closer to long-lasting peace than now,” he said. “Let us pray that we achieve this in 2017.”
Pimentel also thanked the public for giving PDP-Laban the chance to lead the nation. He urged the public to be thankful for the projects that are on track with the signing of the 2017 national budget or “the budget of change.”
“In this budget we are sharing the nation’s blessings to all our countrymen in the form of free tuition in state universities and colleges (SUCs), free irrigation for farmers, and free health insurance coverage for all, and well distributed strategic infrastructure works, among others,” he said.
As the country faces yet another year, Pimentel said, “We have a lot planned for next year. We need to prepare our bodies, hearts, and minds for the hard and challenging work ahead.”
“So let us all take this time to recharge our batteries with courage, fortitude, and steadfastness.” – Rappler.com