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MANILA, Philippines – For Christmas 2017, President Rodrigo Duterte called on Filipinos to be compassionate to others, including to those who have suffered due to the months-long siege in Marawi City.
In his Christmas message released on Thursday, December 21, the President urged Filipinos to keep in mind during “the year’s most festive and joyful season” the troops who have sacrificed for the liberation of Marawi City and the residents who were displaced by the crisis.
“In the midst of all merriment, let us pause and remember our countrymen who have lost their lives fighting for the integrity of our country and for those who lost their homes and loved ones in the recent war, those who are far from their families, and those who are not as fortunate and as blessed as most of us,” Duterte said.
The Marawi siege, considered to be the Philippine military’s longest and bloodiest battle since World War II, left about 600,000 residents displaced.
The war that took 5 months also left more than 1,000 people dead, including 165 government forces, over 900 terrrorists, and 47 civilians, according to a military report.
Duterte hopes that the soldiers and civilians would be included “in our supplications.” (READ: Most coveted Medal of Valor goes to Scout Ranger slain in Marawi)
“As always, I wish a progressive and peaceful country, and for the prosperity of our countrymen,” the President added. – Rappler.com