ZAMBOANGA CITY: President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday expressed hopes that gunbattles will take a back seat during the Christmas season.
Asked by reporters for his Christmas message, Duterte said he is hoping for a peaceful Christmas.
“I’d like to greet everybody, to the Filipino people, the law-abiding, and of course, if they find it in their hearts though this is not really something for the Moro but you know that this kind of event is closest to the hearts of the Christians. We can have a peaceful Christmas,” Duterte said in his visit to the Western Mindanao Command (WesMinCom).
He also urged the Abu Sayyaf Group to “take a vacation.”
“I am asking everyone if we can have a peaceful Christmas. Maybe we can resume fighting some other day,” the President said.
“I’d like to greet everybody, the communists, the Abu Sayyaf, Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year for all,” he added.
Fresh from his state visits to Cambodia and Singapore, Duterte visited 16 soldiers wounded in clashes with the Abu Sayyaf. The soldiers were confined at the Camp Navarro General Hospital (CNGH) in Zamboanga City.
The President also gave financial assistance to the families of three soldiers killed in action.
Injured soldiers were each given P100,000 while the families of slain troopers got P250,000.