MANILA, Philippines – Ahead of the Christmas festivities, Vice President Leni Robredo urged Filipinos to remember residents who were affected by the months-long conflict in Marawi City.
In her Christmas message to Filipinos, Robredo said that "Paskong Pilipino (Filipino Christmas)" is a time for unity, thanksgiving, love, and forgiveness among family, friends, and fellow Filipinos.
"Ngunit sa kabila ng kasaganahan at kasiyahan, alalahanin natin ang mga kapatid nating nasa Marawi. Nagsisimula pa lamang silang bumangon mula sa gulo ng hidwaang naganap ngayong taon," the Vice President said in a message sent to the media on Sunday, December 24.
(But amid the prosperity and festivities, let us remember our brothers and sisters in Marawi. They are only beginning to rise from the destruction caused by the war that happened this year.)
Robredo said those who lost their loved ones to the war, as well as those who are still recovering from injuries may find it difficult to face this year's Christmas.
"Ngunit sa pagkakaisa, maiibsan ang lungkot na dala nito. Ang Kapaskuhan ay alay natin sa Batang Sanggol sa sabsaban, na siyang pumiling ipanganak kasama ang mga mahihirap. Katulad Niya, sa pagsisilbi rin natin mararamdaman ang tunay na saya ng pagdiriwang ng Pasko," she said.
(But being united could help relieve the sadness that they have at this time. Christmas is about the Baby in the Manger, who chose to be born among the poor. Like Him, it is through service that we will feel the true joy of celebrating Christmas.)
"Muli, isang mapagpalang Pasko sa ating lahat (Again, a blessed Christmas to us all)!" Robredo added.
The almost 5-month Marawi siege left more than 1,000 people dead and displaced about 600,000 residents.
President Rodrigo Duterte, who declared the liberation of Marawi City in October, also dedicated his Christmas message to the troops who have lost their lives fighting for Marawi, and the residents who were displaced by the crisis. – Rappler.com