Despite disasters, PH expects a merry Christmas

MANILA, Philippines – Despite several deadly disasters including a killer typhoon and a powerful earthquake, the Philippines still expects a merry Christmas this year, according to survey results released Tuesday, December 24.

The Social Weather Stations research group said its nationwide survey conducted earlier this month found that 62 percent of people in the largely Roman Catholic nation expect a happy Christmas.

This is down slightly from 64 percent in 2012 and 2011.

Those expecting a sad Christmas in 2013 stood at only 9%, the same level as last year.

The Philippines has suffered several harrowing disasters, topped by the November 8 rampage of super typhoon Haiyan which flattened whole towns in the central islands and left almost 8,000 dead or missing.

The central Philippines was also hit by a 7.1 magnitude quake on October 15 which toppled numerous buildings including several historic churches and killed over 200 people.

More than 200 people were killed when followers of Muslim rebel leader Nur Misuari staged a bloody, three-week long siege of the southern city of Zamboanga starting onSeptember 9.

More than 100 people are believed to have died when a ferry sank after colliding with a cargo ship in the central Philippines on August 16, the latest in a series of maritime tragedies in the archipelago.

The Social Weather Stations survey found that in the central islands, which bore the brunt of the disasters, the number of people expecting a sad Christmas rose to 11 percent this year from seven percent last year. It did not give a reason for the increase.

Those in the central islands expecting a happy Christmas fell to 57 percent this year from 66 percent last year. –