PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte yesterday called on Filipinos to be compassionate as well as help in securing a better future for the nation.
Duterte issued the statement as he joined Catholics in the celebration of the Feast of the Black Nazarene.
“For centuries, this devotion to the Nazareno, which reaches its highest expression in the annual Traslacion, continues to strengthen our faith amidst trying times,” he said. Every year, millions of people gather for the Traslacion, risking life and limb to show their faith in the procession where devotees carry a replica of the statue of a cross-bearing Jesus Christ that is believed to be miraculous.
“The stories of conversion and miracles surrounding this important occasion attest to the richness of our religious and cultural heritage,” Duterte said.
The President said he hopes the occasion would inspire Filipinos “to lead our nation towards greater progress, where everyone gets an equal chance for an improved quality of life.”
“May we also learn the virtues of compassion and selflessness as we do our part in nation-building. Together, let us work towards achieving a better and more inclusive future for all Filipinos,” he said.
Meanwhile, the annual procession and feast day of the Black Nazarene is a good opportunity to inspire Filipinos to have a different outlook on life and motivate them to look forward to a “peaceful Philippines,” Malacañang said on Thursday.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made the statement, as he encouraged the Catholic faithful to ensure an orderly and solemn observation of the Feast of the Black Nazarene.
“Today, January 9, the Palace joins the Filipino Catholic faithful, particularly the Nazarene devotees, in the passionate and devotional observance of the Feast of the Black Nazarene,” the Palace official said in a statement.
“It is a good opportunity to strengthen our Christian ties with each other and move us to spiritual awakening and rebirth that will contribute enormously to having the peaceful Philippines,” he added.
This year’s Traslacion started to move past 4 a.m. on Thursday from the Quirino Grandstand in Manila.
Panelo said the annual celebration is a “strong and a constant” reminder of Filipinos have a “deep and lasting” relationship with the Almighty.
“As millions flock the Quiapo Church and surrounding areas as part of the time-honored tradition, the Palace is one in wishing for the safety of everyone and the orderly conduct of this solemn event,” the Palace official said.