By Azer Parrocha
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte (File photo)
MANILA (Philippines News Agency) – President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday reminded Filipinos that amid the prevailing coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, the commemoration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ gives “a message of hope” that there is an end to pain and suffering.
In his Easter Sunday message, Duterte extended his greetings to Filipino Christians here and abroad in commemorating the most important day of the year for Christians.
“Today, we are joined together in the spirit of victory through the Resurrection of Christ. The glory of Easter gives us all a profound message of hope in the midst of suffering and an assurance of triumph over adversity,” he said.
Duterte also expressed hope that Easter would guide Filipinos in pursuit of “shared aspirations” for a better and safer future for all.
“As we collectively strive to overcome the challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, I trust that the promise of salvation will inspire us to look ahead for new beginnings and move forward with stronger faith and compassion for others,” he added.
In a separate message, Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar said the resurrection of Jesus Christ symbolizes “the power of God.”
“This momentous event gives rise to our spiritual renewal, so we may experience rebirth and renewal, walk and receive the promised salvation in Heaven and be with Christ and God,” he said.
Even in the face of adversities such as the Covid-19 pandemic, Andanar reminded Filipinos to draw inspiration from Easter by always having faith in “a new life, a new hope, and a new future for us all.”
He also encouraged Filipinos to be “optimistic” about recovering from the prevailing health crisis.
“Let us be optimistic that we will rise and recover as one global community from Covid-19 while we continue to follow health protocols to ensure that we protect ourselves and those around us,” he added.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, in his Easter message, said we must look forward to gaining a “strengthened faith for better things to come” and stronger determination to heal and recover as one from the nation’s challenges.
“Easter gives us renewed hope for a better new normal. We can apply the lessons we have learned over the past year, turn setbacks into opportunities, and leverage on each other’s strengths. With the spirit of Bayanihan, we hope to soon rebuild our economy, reunite with our communities, and recuperate from the loss of lives and tragic experiences that this pandemic has brought us,” he said.
Lorenzana said Easter is also a time to reaffirm commitment towards a peaceful and stable Philippines.
“Signifying rebirth, Easter brings forth a spirit that enliven the morale of our soldiers and reignites our resolve in protecting our nation’s sovereignty and serving our people with utmost professionalism and patriotism,” he said.
Lorenzana also expressed hope that global leaders abandon war strategies in favor of peace.
“It is with fervent hope that the message of Easter would also resonate with our global leaders, that they may choose peace over war, life over death, and cooperation over division,” he added.
This is the second time that the observance of Holy Week in the Philippines has been restricted because of the pandemic.
Maundy Thursday (April 1), Good Friday (April 2), and Black Saturday (April 3) have been declared holidays to allow Filipinos to observe Lent.
Religious activities are currently limited only to online or livestreaming as part of the government’s effort to curb the spread of Covid-19.
But on Holy Week, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-IED) has allowed a once-a-day religious gathering from April 1 to 4, at 10-percent capacity of the church. (with reports from Priam Nepomuceno/PNA)