GMA urges all sectors to unite
By Marvin Sy
The Philippine Star
MANILA, Philippines – In her last Easter message as President and with barely three months left before the end of her term, President Arroyo has called on Filipinos to unite for the country’s future.
“Let us unite as one nation,” Mrs. Arroyo said in her Easter message released yesterday.
Unlike in previous years when the President delivered her Easter message from Baguio City where she and her family would spend the Holy Week, Mrs. Arroyo this time had to do all her work at the St. Luke’s Medical Center in Taguig City where her husband, First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo, is confined due to a heart ailment.
It has been 10 days since the First Gentleman was brought to the hospital after complaining of back pains.
His doctors revealed that a new tear has developed in his aorta near the area that was surgically repaired in 2007.
“As we celebrate Easter Sunday, we must reflect on the message in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. May this wonderful story of our Lord’s triumph over death inspire us again with the endless verities of our faith,” the President said.
“Easter Sunday is an occasion to celebrate redemption, restoration and renewal. When our Lord suffered and made the supreme sacrifice of giving His life for us in the dark hours of Good Friday, He also brought forth our salvation and the possibility of our rebirth to life eternal by vanquishing death when He rose from the grave three days later,” she added.
The President said she would continue to work on her administration’s development programs such as infrastructure projects and social services until the end of her term on June 30.
Mrs. Arroyo again insisted that she would step down as scheduled and appealed to her successor to continue working on the gains that her administration has achieved over the past nine years.
“As we remember the resurrection of Jesus Christ in our hearts today, let us unite as one nation and collectively work toward a new future for our country – a future rich with hope and possibilities for every one of us, a future illuminated by the blessing of the Lord,” she said.
The President is expected to go to her hometown in Lubao, Pampanga tomorrow as part of her birthday celebration.
Mrs. Arroyo, who is turning 63 tomorrow, is running for congresswoman in the second district of Pampanga in the May 10 elections.
Rise from Calvary
Liberal Party (LP) presidential candidate Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, for his part, called on Filipinos to pray and strive hard to help the country “rise from its Calvary.”
Calvary, the place where Jesus Christ was crucified, symbolizes extreme suffering.
“His sacrifice and love serve as the guide for all of us, that we may all live not only for ourselves but also for others,” Aquino said.
Aquino said Jesus Christ’s example should drive Filipinos to face their difficulties with compassion and dignity.
“Let us all pray to our Lord God for Him to bless our beloved Philippines so that we will finally be able to achieve our much-hoped redemption from corruption and poverty,” he said.
“Poverty has been the bitter and heavy burden of our people. Poverty has been the long-time Calvary of Juan de la Cruz. But this is one huge problem that no single Juan can solve,” he said.
“As His followers, we have the duty to look after each other’s welfare. This is also what drove us to continue the fight for true democracy. We need hope and reforms. We need an honest and good government. We should all pray and seek God’s blessings for Him to bring light to the path for change,” he added.
For his part, Aquino’s running mate, Sen. Manuel Roxas II, said, “May we remember the events in Christ’s life, and strive to follow His example of sacrifice and compassion for His fellowman,”
Nacionalista Party standard-bearer Sen. Manuel Villar Jr. also called on Filipinos to unite and work hard and persevere in working for the country’s progress.
“Easter is a season of hope, change, and rebirth. As we celebrate it, let us continue to hope for a better future for our countrymen. Let us pursue genuine change through our fight against poverty,” Villar said.
His running mate, Sen. Loren Legarda, urged her fellow candidates to fulfill the desire of voters to have officials who will improve their lives and not enrich themselves while in office.
In a statement, Legarda said public officials should emulate the teachings of Jesus Christ and “give their citizens renewed hope in their political outlook, though skeptics and cynics may try to virtually crucify them for their efforts.”
Legarda said all candidates should give new meaning and relevance to resurrection and rebirth as the central theme of Easter Sunday.
“Candidates know this – that voters, especially the poor majority, look up to them as saviors that would lead them to a better life,” she said.
“The dishonest take advantage of this just to get elected and then use their office to enrich themselves. On the other hand, the honest public servants use their office to try to improve their constituents’ lives,” she added.
“Together, let us strive for the rebirth of a Philippines that is progressive, strong, and free from corruption. Let us chart this nation’s destiny through hard work, perseverance, and unity,” she said.
Vice President Noli de Castro, meanwhile, expressed hope for a peaceful and orderly transition of power in June.
“Let us use the grace of Easter to prepare for the forthcoming May 2010 elections and for the transition in the national leadership at the end of June of this year,” De Castro said.
“Let us trust that the resurrected Christ will bless our nation as we prepare to begin a new chapter in our history and as the torch of national leadership passes from the old to the new,” he said.
He added that Christ’s resurrection brings with it the fulfillment of the biblical promise of new life and new beginnings where “old things have passed away and the new has come.”
De Castro also urged the people and the candidates to help work for the success of the country’s first automated elections.
“Let us urge those running in the 2010 elections to give the highest respect to the electoral process, knowing fully that this democratic exercise is an expression and reflection of the voice of the God of a new beginning resounding through the voice of men,” he said. – With Aurea Calica and Pia Lee-Brago