IN HIS Christmas message, President Rodrigo Duterte wishes for a "progressive and peaceful" nation.
"As we celebrate the year's most festive and joyful season, I would like to greet all my fellow Filipinos a very Merry Christmas," the President said in a video message uploaded by the Presidential Communications Operations Office on its Facebook page on Thursday night, December 21.
"Let us show our true compassion and include them in our supplications during the Yuletide season. And as always, I wish (for) a progressive and peaceful country, and for the prosperity of our countrymen. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of us," he added.
Duterte is currently in his hometown, Davao City, and is expected to welcome Christmas at home with his family and friends.
As the whole country celebrates Christmas, Duterte calls on the Filipino people to also find time to look back to the past and acknowledge those who died for the country and those who lost homes and loved ones because of the recently-concluded Marawi war.
"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," he said.
Marawi, once a progressive city in Lanao del Sur in Mindanao, was ravaged by a five-month battle between government troops and terrorists inspired by international terror group Islamic State. More than 1,000 were killed.
The government declared an end to combat operations in Marawi on October 23, less than a week after Duterte declared it liberated from terrorists and five months after fighting broke out. Rehabilitation efforts are ongoing. (Ruth Abbey Gita / SunStar Philippines)