MANILA – The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) on Wednesday appealed to the faithful not to hold extravagant Christmas parties as much as possible, in solidarity with the victims of Typhoon Odette.
CBCP president Bishop Pablo Virgilio David urged them to help communities devastated by the natural calamity.
“Perhaps instead of spending a lot on lavish Christmas parties and exchange gifts, we can put together whatever we can and contribute it to relief operations,” David said in an article posted on the CBCP news website.
Earlier, the bishops’ group declared Christmas Day, December 25 and 26, as national days of prayer for the typhoon victims.
Dioceses are also encouraged to hold a second collection in all Masses on these days for the church’s relief operations headed by Caritas Philippines, the Church’s social action arm.
It reported that at least 10 dioceses were heavily affected by “Odette” in the islands of Visayas and Mindanao.
Caritas Philippines has initially released PHP3 million from its Alay Kapwa fund for the affected dioceses’ emergency relief operations, and PHP2.5 million to help the church’s relief efforts.
Meanwhile, a Catholic prelate in Bohol province called on politicians to set aside politics and work together to help the typhoon victims.
Tagbilaran Bishop Alberto Uy said those in public service must prioritize the health, safety, and welfare of the affected people above anything else at this time.
“Now is the time to work together. We must stop political squabbling. To all leaders, let’s all be united to help all in need. Set aside intrigue and politics,” Uy said in another article posted on the Conference’s news website.
At the same time, the Tagbilaran bishop also appealed to traders to avoid hoarding basic goods, noting that taking advantage of the situation “is the most unchristian act one can do this time.”
“My appeal to all faithful Boholanos: Stay calm and don’t panic-buy. We can only survive this crisis if we start to think of others,” he added.
Bohol was among the provinces ravaged by the strongest typhoon to hit the nation this year.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development reported that about 1.8 million people or 452,307 families were affected by “Odette”.
The typhoon claimed 378 lives as reported by the Philippine National Police, with many others missing. (PNA)