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Partygoers urged to scrap festivities

Appeal for funds to be given instead to typhoon victims

Partygoers urged to scrap festivities
People in areas devastated by Typhoon Bopha start rebuilding their homes. (Photo by Keith Bacongco) reporter, Cebu

December 21, 2012

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Government and Church leaders have urged Filipinos to tone down or cancel Christmas parties this year to show solidarity with victims of Typhoon Bopha which devastated parts of Mindanao earlier this month.

Several government agencies have announced that they will not be holding Christmas parties and were instead donating cash earmarked for festivities to victims of the typhoon.

The Department of Tourism in announcing the cancellation of its Christmas party said: “Filipinos should instead remember the values of charity and generosity by sharing prayers and blessings” with victims of the disaster.

The Foreign Affairs Department said it will donate cash set aside for its party to organizations helping typhoon victims.

The country considers Christmas as one of its most important festivals and Christmas parties often involve large budgets and elaborate celebrations.

Archbishop Jose Palma of Cebu said “we can still be happy if we have simple parties. There should be an effort to share what we can.”

Bishop Deogracias Iniguez of Kalookan said a simple observance of Christmas "will show sensitivity to the heartbreaking suffering of typhoon-stricken families."

Palma, who is also president of the Catholic bishops' conference, said Caritas is still accepting donations for victims of the Mindanao calamity.

Meanwhile, the Humanitarian Response Consortium and international aid charity Oxfam launched an emergency response mission today in the towns of New Bataan in Compostela Valley and in Boston and Cateel in Davao Oriental. The mission aims to provide emergency shelter for 11,000 families.

The country’s National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said yesterday that the death toll from the typhoon had reached 1,047 people while 841 more remain missing.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs this week said the disaster has affected 6.2 million people with about 960,000 living in the ruins of their homes and in open ground. The government says some 26,000 people are still staying in 63 evacuation centers. 

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