As the nation celebrates Christmas, the Commission on Human Rights called on Filipinos to share with their countrymen especially those who are still recovering from the destruction wrought by Typhoon Odette.
“In the middle of celebration, may the inherent spirit of compassion and bayanihan prevail so we can share with those who are unfortunate and our countrymen who fell down amid the different disasters like Typhoon Odette that ravaged Visayas and Mindanao recently,” lawyer Jacqueline de Guia, commission spokesperson, said in Filipino.
De Guia said Filipinos are no strangers to calamities, but the CHR continues to remind that while the nation is strong, this should be complemented by a government that fulfills its obligation to uphold the rights and dignity of all.
More than 3.3 million Filipinos were affected by the Odette that ravaged several regions in the country just a week before Christmas. The country’s disaster risk agency also reported that death toll climbed to 326, injuries to 661 while 58 are still missing.
A week after it hit land, more than 100 localities are still without electricity. More than 300,000 houses were also damaged and combined infrastructure and agriculture damage is estimated at P6 billion.
De Guia said while active COVID-19 cases have gone down and some may be experiencing traditional Christmas. “But as we rise, may no one be left behind. Let us keep in mind the weak, the cast aside and those abused in society,” De Guia continued.
“The CHR continues to call on the government to address the need for jobs and livelihood; to support businesses so they can operate again; the safe opening of schools; and ensure that there is enough and safe vaccines against COVID-19 for all,” she added.
The Philippines saw an alarming rise of COVID-19 cases in the middle of the year due to the Delta variant. The surge in cases overwhelmed hospitals and resulted in months-long lockdowns that crippled more businesses.
The Commission then called on the public to do their part to stop the spread of the coronavirus by adhering to health and safety protocols.
As the election nears, the CHR also called on Filipinos to treasure the opportunity to elect leaders who will uphold the interests and humanity of the nation. De Guia also urged the people “to keep in mind the needs of those in the fringes of society, so that services they deserve may be fortified.”
“May we embody the spirit of Christmas at all times. Let us continue to show compassion and care for our fellow countrymen. The Commission stands with you in upholding and spreading the truth, rights and dignity of all,” De Guia also said.