MANILA, Philippines – Senators on Sunday, December 25, expressed their Christmas wishes, including respect for human rights, justice, and peace.
Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III said Christmas is a time for peace, as he wished the country and the international community harmony.
“Christmas is a time for peace. Remember that our Lord always said ‘Peace be with you.’ Hence, let us be at peace this Christmas: at peace with our God, with our religion and conscience, with our family and community, with our countrymen, our ASEAN region, and with the entire community of nations,” Pimentel said in a statement.
Pimentel urged the public to support President Rodrigo Duterte’s “unilateral declaration of a ceasefire with rebel forces.”
“At no time in four decades has our nation been closer to long-lasting peace than now. Let us pray that we achieve this in 2017,” he added.
Senator Francis Pangilinan urged Filipinos to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas.
The acting Liberal Party president pointed out how the season seemed to have lost its joy with the rise of extrajudicial killings and the “hatred” coming from the nation’s leaders.
“Pero parang hindi masyadong masaya ngayon. Marahil dahil imbis na magsaya ay nagluluksa ang maraming namamatayan. Marahil dahil imbis na ‘Merry Christmas’ ay mga mura ang naririnig natin sa ating mga pinuno. Marahil dahil imbis na pagmamahal ay takot at galit, insulto at paninirang-puri ang laganap lalo na sa social media.” Pangilinan said in a statement.
(It seems Christmas is not joyful now. Maybe because instead of being happy, many people are grieving; instead of ‘Merry Christmas,’ we hear curses from our leader; instead of love, there is more fear, hatred, and insult around us especially on social media.)
“Para sa akin, galing sa kwentong ‘yan ang mga paalala ng Pasko: Ang ligaya na dulot ng mga bata. Ang pansin at diin sa mahihirap. Ang payak na pagdiwang basta kasama ang mga mahal sa buhay. Pagbibigay-buhay ang dakila at tunay na regalo. At pag-ibig bilang sagot sa maraming suliranin – ng sarili, ng pamilya, ng Inang Bayan, ng sanlibutan,” he added.
(For me, Christmas reminds us of the happiness brought by children, the focus on the poor, simple celebrations with loved ones. Giving life is the real gift. And love is the answer to many problems – personal, family, nation, and the world.)
Senator Leila de Lima, fiercest critic of President Rodrigo Duterte and his deadly war on drugs, shared the same sentiment. She asked Filipinos to remember the pain and struggles of fellow countrymen during the season, including migrant workers and families still seeking justice.
“Nawa’y alalahanin din po natin na ang Pasko ngayong taon ay nagdudulot ng kalungkutan para sa marami nating kababayan. Matinding pagsubok ito para sa mga kumakayod sa ibang bansa, na hindi man lamang mayayakap ang mga mahal sa buhay; sa mga naulila ng kanilang ama, ina, anak, kapatid, asawa; at maging sa mga pamilyang hanggang ngayon ay naghahanap pa rin ng hustisya, kundi man tuluyan nang nawalan ng pag-asa,” De Lima said.
(Let us remember that Christmas also brings sadness to many of our fellowmen. This is a struggle for those working abroad who cannot hug their loves ones; to those left behind by their fathers, mothers, child, brother, sister, or spouse; and even families who, until now, are seeking justice or those who have already lost hope.)
“Sa bawat pagkakataon, tularan po natin ang halimbawa ng Panginoon tungo sa isang makatarungan at makataong lipunan,” the senator added. (In every moment, let us follow the example of the Lord toward a just and humane society.)
Senator Nancy Binay said she is praying for the country’s healing after a divisive 2016 presidential elections and the controversies following it.
“This Christmas, we pray that we get the gift of healing, especially the pain in our hearts, so that we may become a part of the hope and strength of our country,” Binay said in a statement.
With the Christmas season, Binay said she wishes that Filipinos would be reminded of the golden rule and the need to treat people properly.
“Nawa’y sa pagsilang ng ating Panginoong Hesukristo ay manumbalik sa ating mga puso ang ginintuang pamantayan at pagtrato sa bawat isa na may respeto, paggalang, at sagrado,” she said.
(I hope with the birth of Jesus Christ, we are reminded by the goldern rule and the need to treat each other with respect and sanctity.)
De Lima’s wish for Duterte
De Lima also took the chance to give her Christmas wish for her number 1 accuser, President Duterte.
“I wish for a Christmas miracle, for the President to wake up on December 25 with full control of his faculties, and give the gift of the Nativity to the whole nation by respecting every Filipino’s right to live as they were born in the image of the Lord Jesus Christ,” De Lima said.
De Lima said she prays that the President be blessed with the “gift of life” amid his illnesses. De Lima said she hopes that Duterte and his family be given the “grace of kindness and compassion to their fellow human beings.” – Rappler.com