President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday led the traditional lighting of a Christmas tree at the Kalayaan grounds, kicking off a festive atmosphere bolstered by his announcement to give PHP50,000 bonus to Office of the President (OP) employees.
“I am delighted to be in the company of friends and fellow workers in the Office of the President as we herald today our joyous observance of Christmas,” Duterte said in his speech.
“During this time of the year, few more sights evoke more feelings of cheer and goodwill and the bright lights of our Christmas tree,” he added.
After his speech, Duterte initially announced he is giving PHP30,000 plus PHP10,000 gift check but after chatting with his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, the President returned to the podium and raised the cash to Christmas bonus to PHP50,000.
“Sabi ni Inday bakit naman kayo, Maynila, National Capital (Region) PHP40K? Ang bigay doon sa Davao PHP50K. So hindi tayo magpalugi sa Davao. It’s gonna be PHP50K. Okay na ýan,” Duterte, a former Davao City mayor for 23 years, said.
After switching on the lights of the 40-meter Christmas tree and all the lanterns within the Kalayaan grounds, Duterte sang “Ikaw” with Madrigal Singers to the delight of the crowd.
Also in his speech, Duterte urged his fellow public servants to “reignite” their desire to render genuine public service “especially to those who need it most”.
“I call on you, my fellow government workers, to remain supportive of each other as we work towards achieving our hopes and dreams for our beloved nation. I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas,” Duterte said.
Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar attended the lighting of the Christmas tree. (PNA)
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