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Duterte to Pinoys: ‘Let us be hopeful for better days ahead’

By PhilSTAR L!fe Published Dec 24, 2020 9:44 pm Updated Dec 24, 2020 9:59 pm

With millions of jobs lost and almost half a million cases of COVID-19, President Rodrigo Duterte urged Filipinos to “be hopeful for better days ahead.” Vice President Leni Robedo lauded people for following the example of Christ and helping others. “Tuloy ang bayanihan. Tuloy ang pag-asa. Tuloy ang pag-ibig,” she said.

Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, called on Filipinos to let Jesus Christ “teach us how to live life fully, with or without a pandemic.”

Here are their Christmas messages.

President Rodrigo Duterte

My fellow Filipinos,

This year has been a trying time for all of us. Many lives were lost and forever changed due to COVID-19 pandemic and several natural calamities.

But through it all, we continue to survive and rise because of our unity, strength and indomitable spirit as Filipinos.

May we all have a meaningful celebration and let us be hopeful for better days ahead.

This Christmas season, let the story of Jesus Christ's birth remind us that we should always have hope even in darkness, poverty and suffering.

Let us also allow Christ into our lives so that we could bring love and cheer not only to our families and friends but also to those who are most in need. May we all have a meaningful celebration and let us be hopeful for better days ahead.

Maligayang Pasko sa ating lahat!

Vice President Leni Robredo

Maligayang Pasko sa inyong lahat mula sa aming pamilya at sa aming lahat dito sa Tanggapan ng Pangalawang Pangulo!

Walang katulad ang Paskong ito. Walang Christmas parties at caroling; walang malalaking salo-salo; magdiriwang tayo nang hindi katabi ang isa’t isa. Ngunit sa kabila ng napakaraming pagbabago sa mga tradisyong nakaugalian natin, humuhugot tayo ng lakas sa mga bagay na tiyak: Makakaasa tayo sa kabutihan ng ating kapwa; iisa tayong pamilya na sabay-sabay humaharap at bumabangon mula sa anumang pagsubok; lahat tayo, saklaw ng walang-hanggang pagmamahal ni Kristo.

Ito nga mismo ang ipinagdiriwang natin ngayong araw: Ang katotohanan na sa ngalan ng pag-ibig, pinili ng Panginoong makipamuhay sa atin. Pinili niyang makiisa sa buong lalim ng karanasan ng sangkatauhan. Pinili niyang magkatawang-tao at magpakatao; na makipagkapwa at maging kapwa.

Walang dilim na kayang magligaw sa atin, dahil tayo mismo ang liwanag ng bawat isa. Tuloy ang bayanihan. Tuloy ang pag-asa. Tuloy ang pag-ibig

Sinundan natin ang Kanyang dakilang halimbawa sa sama-sama nating pagtugon sa krisis at mga nagdaang sakuna. Mula sa pakikiisa sa ating mga healthcare workers at frontliners, pagdo-donate at pag-vo-volunteer sa mga response at relief operations, hanggang sa simpleng pagsunod sa mga health protocols at pagpapalaganap ng tamang impormasyon tungkol sa virus—ang lahat ng ito, nagagawa natin dahil minamahal natin ang ating kapwa. Dahil nilalawakan natin ang sakop ng ating pinahahalagahan. Dahil nagsisilbing gabay sa atin ang mensaheng dala ng pagsilang ni Kristo—mensahe ng pakikiisa, pag-asa, at pag-ibig.

Dalangin ko ngayong Pasko na patuloy tayong magbukas-palad, at ilapit ang diwa ng panahong ito sa puso at tahanan ng bawat pamilyang Pilipino. Palakasin ang ugnayan sa mga magkakamag-anak, magkakaibigan, mga kasapi ng ating komunidad, hanggang masaklaw ang buong Pilipinas at sangkatauhan. Makipagkuwentuhan, balikan ang mga karanasang nagbibigkis sa atin, ang mga pakikipagsapalaran, pati na ang kaligayahan at pagkabuhay ng loob na nadama natin sa maraming sandali ng taong ito. Humugot ng lakas mula sa isa’t isa.

Binago man ng pandemya ang paraan natin ng pagdiriwang, hindi maaaring mabawasan ang kabuluhan ng araw na ito, dahil walang pandemya o sakunang kayang umampat sa pagdaloy ng pag-ibig ng Maykapal. Walang dilim na kayang magligaw sa atin, dahil tayo mismo ang liwanag ng bawat isa.

Tuloy ang bayanihan. Tuloy ang pag-asa. Tuloy ang pag-ibig. Muli, maligayang Pasko sa lahat ng Pilipino, saanmang sulok ng mundo.

Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles, CBCP president

My dear brothers and sisters,

“For a child is born to us, a son is given us.” (Isaiah 9:6 – First Reading, Mass During the Night, the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord)

We have lost count of the repeated recitations of the “Oratio Imperata” by our many Christian communities all over the country. We have been crying out to God, begging His mercy on us who are laid low by the COVID-19 virus.

Tonight, Isaiah announces: “For a child is born to us, a son is given us.” That child is God made man, and He has come in answer to our prayers. Where an invisible enemy has threatened to rob us of our health, our life, our peace of mind, that Child, who is the Prince of Peace, has come so that we might have life, and have it more abundantly.

It is true that there are now several vaccines available against COVID-19. Not courtesy of Isaiah the prophet, but of the pharmaceutical (firms) Pfizer Inc. and Moderna Inc. God willing, our government can soon obtain these vaccines and make them available to our people.

He is here to save us from ourselves, from our pettiness, and from our hardness of hearts. And if we only let Him, He will teach us how to live life fully, with or without a pandemic.

Once accepted by most, if not by all, these vaccines can reduce the numbers headed for the ICUs (intensive care units) and hospitals. People can return to work, earn a living, and go back to school. And the day may not be far off when we will no longer need to wear masks, do social distancing, or be obsessed with disinfectants.

As grateful as we are to the men and women of science who produced the wonderful vaccines, we cannot help but recognize their limits. They are good for COVID-19 only. They cannot be effective against the next virus which, many experts say, will surely appear and unleash the next pandemic.

No vaccine can be a panacea for all the misguided ways by which we humans live. We bring about our own plagues and pandemics. We abuse nature. We wage wars. We tolerate, if not exacerbate, poverty and inequality. We know we can do better, yet we persist in our lack of humanity.

Today a child is born for us; a Son is given to us.

He lies in a manger. Like the shepherds and wise men from the East, we approach Him on bended knees. For He is God’s greatest gift to us. He is born for us, for our benefit, and for no other reason. He is here to save us from ourselves, from our pettiness, and from our hardness of hearts. And if we only let Him, He will teach us how to live life fully, with or without a pandemic. He is our Savior and our God.

May the Holy Infant Jesus fill your Christmas with His peace and with His joy, as He alone can!