Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque made the call as he extended his greetings to Filipinos celebrating the Yuletide season.
“Our country struggles to confront the various challenges that we faced this year. The pandemic and the natural disasters brought fear and sadness but during these difficult times, we heal and recover as one,” Roque said in his Christmas message.
The Palace official called on Filipinos to give more “compassion, understanding and patience to our fellowmen,” especially those who have been badly affected by natural or personal tragedies.
The country suffered from a volcanic explosion in January, an animal virus outbreak in February, a pandemic in March, large-scale lockdowns in the succeeding months, as well as back-to-back typhoons in the latter part of the year which submerged many areas in Luzon.
“It is high time that we collectively unite as one nation and one people for a better Philippines,” Roque said.
Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar also joined Roque in wishing a joyous Christmas to all Filipinos as he urged them to emulate the love and selflessness of Jesus.
“Let us impart His love and blessings to others through the spirit of bayanihan and by giving to those in need,” Andanar said in a separate statement.
He also reminded the public to observe minimum health standards against COVID-19 during the holidays.
“This joyous occasion is often spent celebrating with families, loved ones, and friends, but the current situation brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic calls for us to virtually celebrate this holiday season or have our gatherings at a limited capacity,” Andanar said.
“With this, we extend our warmest greetings to all the Filipinos here and around the world as we celebrate Christmas today,” he added.
Government officials have repeatedly reminded the public to refrain from hosting large gatherings during Christmas to prevent the spread of COVID-19 which can be transmitted through droplets.
OCTA Research, a group of statisticians and analysts tracking pandemic figures, have flagged northern cities in Metro Manila due to an uptick of new infections this month.
The group projected that coronavirus cases in the Philippines may hit the 500,000-mark by the end of year or by early January as it cautioned the public that 4,000 COVID-19 cases may be recorded daily if health protocols won’t be observed during the holidays.
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