Lawmakers' Christmas wish? Justice for EJK victims
MANILA, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) – For Christmas 2017, lawmakers want justice for the families of victims of extrajudicial killings in the country.
"Christmas is indeed one of the most anticipated holidays in the Philippines where Filipino families traditionally spend time together over good food and good stories. But may we also remember that Christmas this year, as with last year, brings sadness and grief to many of our countrymen who will not be with their loved ones killed in Duterte's drug war," De Lima said in a statement.
Minority Senator Francis Pangilinan also called on the public to reflect on the hardships many families had to face this year.
"Maraming nawalan ng pamilya at kaibigan sa madugong kampanya na nagdulot ng sakit at lungkot para sa mga biktima nito. Marami ang magdiriwang nang malayo sa mga tahanang ipinagkaila sa kanilang mabalikan. Marami ang magdiriwang nang mag-isa," Pangilinan said.
(Many lost their families and friends in the bloody drug war that has caused pain and sadness. Many are celebrating Christmas away from home and alone.)
"Ngunit kahit na nakakalungkot, ay kinakatawan nila ang puso ng lumalabang Pilipino: Tayo ay isang matatag na mamamayan, isang bansang laging nakakakita ng pag-asa at pag-ibig sa kabila ng mga suliranin. Walang duda na makakakita sila ng paraan para salubungin ang pagsilang ni Kristo nang may ngiti sa kanilang mga mukha," he added.
(Even if it's sad, they embody the heart of the Filipino that keeps on fighting. We are a resilient people, a country that keeps on seeing hope and love amid struggles. There is no doubt that they would also find happiness welcoming the birth of Christ.)
Senator Grace Poe, for her part, wished for an "outpouring of love and compassion" for the poor and downtrodden, including the families of slain victims. (READ: For families of EJK victims, Christmas will no longer be the same)
"Let the Christmas season be an outpouring of love and compassion for the families in shelters due to fighting and calamities; for the relatives crying out for justice for their killed kin; for our men in uniform in the field; for our OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) in faraway places; and for the zestful youth, especially those who make use of social media to make their voices heard," she said.
Poe and Senator Joel Villanueva also called for peace and unity among Filipinos.
"This season is an invitation for us to reinforce the ties as Filipinos, woven from our shared hopes and aspirations of a progressive future for all. Let's spread love, not hatred. Let our faith grow stronger towards justice, reconciliation, peace, and compassion. These are the greatest gifts we can give to our fellow Filipinos," Poe said.
"Amidst the challenges our nation faced over the past year, we are grateful for all the tremendous opportunities that God Almighty has bestowed on the Filipino people. This holiday season, I pray for unity and peace in our nation and may the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ bring new hope for the Philippines," Villanueva said.
Meanwhile, Senator Loren Legarda called on the public to reflect and be grateful for the year.
"The Yuletide season is more than just a joyful celebration. It is also a time to reflect and be grateful. As we end this year and welcome a new one, let us appreciate the experiences we had and the people who have helped us turn our adversities into triumphs, misgivings into wisdom, and doubts into hope," she said.
Senator Francis Pangilinan also urged Filipinos to remember families who went through a lot this 2017.
"Maraming nawalan ng pamilya at kaibigan sa madugong kampanya na nagdulot ng sakit at lungkot para sa mga biktima nito. Marami ang magdiriwang nang malayo sa mga tahanang ipinagkaila sa kanilang mabalikan. Marami ang magdiriwang nang mag-isa," he said in a statement sent on Christmas eve.
(Many lost family and friends to the bloody campaign that caused pain and sadness to its victims. Many will spend Christmas away from homes they cant return to. Many will celebrate it alone.)
Pangilinan still expressed hope this Christmas, noting that Filipinos are strong – a nation that always sees hope and love despite problems.
"Walang duda na makakakita sila ng paraan para salubungin ang pagsilang ni Kristo nang may ngiti sa kanilang mga mukha. Ito ang tunay na diwa ng Pasko, at kung ano ang 'sinisimbolo ng pagsilang ni Kristo: ligaya, pag-asa, at kaligtasan."
(There is no doubt that they will find a way to celebrate the birth of Christ with smiles in their faces. This is the true meaning of Christmas, and what Christ's birth symbolizes: joy, hope, and salvation.) – Rappler.com