Aquino vows brighter, merrier Christmas


MANILA, Philippines — President Benigno S. Aquino III on Christmas Eve vowed to work for a brighter, merrier, and more prosperous Christmas for Filipinos in the years to come as he spent his day spreading cheer to 150 less fortunate children at the Don Bosco Technical Institute in Makati City.

Called “Alay ng Pangulo sa Mga Batang Kalye ng Don Bosco” (The President’s Gift to Don Bosco Street children),” the event was led by the President, with his sisters Ballsy Aquino Cruz, Pinky Aquino Abellada, Viel Aquino Dee, and Kris and their families accompanying him to give gifts to residents of Don Bosco Centers –Ating Pamilya Center, Kuya Street Children Center, and Pugad Don Bosco Center.

The 150 beneficiaries were composed of street children, juvenile delinquents, and young indigents.

During the event held at the Savio Dome of the school, the kids handed the President a letter where they listed their Christmas wish.

Except for the request that the roof of the Pugad Don Bosco Center be fixed, the President immediately granted all those in the wish list of the kids, which include new school bags, new shoes, sack of rice, food packs, trip to Enchanted Kingdom, among others. Aquino promised to restore the roof of the Pugad Don Bosco Center early January.

The President also granted the wish of a child for a permanent job for his unemployed father.

Aquino, in an impromptu speech, thanked the Salesians of Don Bosco for nurturing street children, indigents, delinquents, and migrant youth through its various centers.

The President said the community is very close to his heart since it served as a “refuge” for the opposition where he was part of during the previous administration.

His mother, the late President Corazon C. Aquino, he noted, was also very close to the Don Bosco community.

“Sana po maski papaano ay napaganda natin ng kaunti ang inyong Pasko. Pero huwag ho kayong mag-alala pinipilit natin na ang mga susunod na Pasko po eh lalo pa talagang tumingkad, lalong gumanda at talaga hong mabuo ang inyong mga pamilya na lahat ay may pagkakataon talagang umangat ang kabuhayan,” Aquino told the Don Bosco beneficiaries. (I hope somehow we were able to brighten your Christmas. But don’t worry we are trying our best to make Christmas in the years to come even merrier, brighter, and more prosperous for your family.)

The children were then treated to songs and participated in games organized by young artists.

The President said he will spend the rest of his Christmas Eve with his immediate family and share “merienda cena.”

On the other hand, “Christmas Day is with the Cojuangcos,” he said in an interview with a TV network last Friday.

The President, in his Christmas message to the Filipino nation, asked the people to help their fellowmen in need, particularly those devastated by Typhoon “Sendong” in Mindanao.

The President reminded Filipinos that Christmas is intended for all people noting that there are those who don’t have much in life, especially those adversely affected by the recent disaster. (JC BELLO RUIZ/Manila Bulletin)