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  Home > Philippines

Show True Compassion This Christmas – Duterte

TALKING HANDS? – Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol (left)and President Duterte gesticulate as they chat during the commissioning of two Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources boats and the launching of the Rice-Corn Blend Program in Davao City on Thursday. (Keith Bacongco | Manila Bulletin)


 December 23rd, 2017  |  10:43 AM  |   1573 views



President Duterte urged Filipinos not to forget the less fortunate ones, particularly those who died defending the country, as the nation celebrates the Christmas holidays.


The President made the appeal in his Christmas video message posted on the Presidential Communications’ (Government of the Philippines) official Facebook page late Thursday.


According to Duterte, government forces who risked their lives during the war in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur should not be forgotten during the celebration of the year’s most festive and joyful occasion.


He also said that those who were displaced by the war and those who are away and separated from their families to work abroad should also be included in everyone’s prayers.


“And 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 in his one-minute-and-ten-second video message.


“Let us show our true compassion and include them in our supplications during the Yuletide season,” he added.


The President also reiterated his wish for the country and for the Filipino people.


“And as always, I wish a progressive and peaceful country, and for the prosperity of our countrymen,” Duterte said.


Early this week, Duterte signed into law the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) act, saying this is his administration’s biggest Christmas gift to the Filipino people.


“This is the administration’s biggest Christmas gift to the Filipino people as 99 percent of the taxpayers will benefit from a simpler, fairer, and more efficient tax system,” Duterte said Tuesday.


“One of the TRAIN’s most significant breakthroughs is that beginning January 1st 2018, those earning below P250,000 will be exempt from income tax,” he added.


Revenues from the TRAIN will fund our priority projects to ensure quality education, including free tuition in state universities and colleges, quality health care, social protection and conditional cash transfers, improved infrastructures under the Build, Build, Build program, and the reconstruction of Marawi.


Aside from signing the TRAIN, Duterte also declared a suspension of military operations (SOMO) against the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).


“It will be for the benefit of the people so that they will spend Christmas [with] less strain, less pressure, and they do not expect something like it purposely — battle na maghahanap ng away (really looking for a fight),” Duterte said Wednesday.


“Christmas holds a special place in the hearts of our countrymen. In the observance of this occasion, we hope that all Filipinos would stand together as one nation and aspire for peace in our beloved Philippines, Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said Wednesday.


Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar, in a radio interview Thursday morning, said the SOMO is for the soldiers, not the NPA.


“It’s really for the military para makapagpahinga sila at makauwi sila sa kanilang mga tahanan para sila makapag-celebrate ng (It’s really for the military so they can rest and go home to celebrate) Christmas with their families,” Andanar said.


Come to your senses


ACT-Teachers Party-List Rep. Antonio Tinio has a simple Christmas wish for President Duterte: for him to “come to his senses” and go back to negotiate peace with Communist rebels.


“For my Christmas wish, come to your senses Mr. President, go back to the negotiating table, spare the people from further violence,” Tinio said.


“Purely or mainly military approach will not succeed. Hindi maiiwasan yung [We shouldn’t avoid a] political solution that will address the socio-economic roots. Landlessness, joblessness, the lack of services, etc.,” stressed the Makabayan solon.


Tinio said the Reds are always ready to talk peace with the Philippine government.


“The NDF is always ready to talk peace, that is their position. In fact kinansel lang ni Pangulong Duterte may mga ready agreements na pwede nang pirmahan. So bukas yung pinto sa kabila (Agreements were about to be signed by Duterte cancelled them. The door is open from the other side).”




by Argyll Cyrus Geducos and Ellson Quismorio


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