For the fourth time since he assumed the highest office in 2016, President Rodrigo Duterte will be spending Christmas with his family in his residence in Davao City, Malacañang said.
Duterte opted anew to celebrate Christmas without fanfare, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said.
“The President, as usual, will be spending his Christmas, with his family, with his grandchildren, children in his house in Davao City,” Panelo told Palace reporters.
“Oo, palagi namang ganoon ‘yun (Yes, that’s what he regularly does),” he added, when asked if the President merely wants a simple Christmas celebration.
Duterte spends Christmas in his home in Davao City each year, even after getting elected as president.
It has also been the President’s Christmas tradition to visit young cancer patients at the Southern Philippine Medical Center in Davao City every year.
Nearly two weeks before Christmas, Duterte played Santa to cancer-stricken Jacob Wong, 5, who visited the President’s hometown Dec. 13. The child received early Christmas presents and even a fatherly hug and kisses on the forehead from the President.
When he was mayor of Davao City, Duterte always hosted a Christmas party for residents at his ancestral home in Bangkal village.
He, however, was no longer able to attend the event when he became president for security reasons, although the annual gift-giving continues.
Duterte wants ‘comfortable life for Filipinos’
“His wish for the Filipinos is to have a comfortable life,” Panelo said.
On Nov. 19, the Chief Executive expressed optimism that his fellow Filipinos would remain cheerful despite the challenges they face and would find joy when they share a simple Noche Buena, a celebration observed by the nation on Christmas Eve.
Just like the President, Panelo also hoped for “peace on earth, not only in the Philippines.”
“We have enough wars and so many negative things engulfing this world. We need a respite from all this,” the Palace official said.
“I guess, what we really need is love. If we can only love one another, then it will be a better world to live in,” he added.
Panelo also wished for the 74-year-old President’s “good health,” considering that the latter is “workaholic.” (PNA)