Photo of President Benigno Aquino III from Malacanang Press Bureau file.
Photo of President Benigno Aquino III from Malacanang Press Bureau file.

MANILA, Philippines– After the nation survived a year of calamities and other challenges, President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III appeals to all Filipinos to join the National Prayer day on January 20, which he had credited for the resiliency of disaster victims.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said that the President will lead the nation in prayer in a simple program to be held in Malacañang Palace.

“The National Day of Prayer and Solidarity with the theme ‘One Nation in Prayer’ will be held as the Filipino people’s way of recognizing the power of the Almighty God who guides us in our journey towards a brighter future,” Coloma said.

Coloma also said that government officials and representatives from various sectors are expected to join the prayer assembly next week.

Incidentally, the event will happen together with the 13th anniversary of EDSA II, which ousted former President Joseph Estrada and catapulted Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to the presidency.

However, Coloma did not mention any reference to EDSA II when he explained why Malacañang made such declaration.

Meanwhile, updates about the upcoming national prayer day will be announced by the Palace in the coming days.

‘Resilience amid calamities’

In his New Year’s vin d’honneur toast, Aquino took pride in the country’s resilience amid calamities that hit the country.

“Some of you have marveled at the resilience of our nation, people whose fate though challenged remain constant and only deepened,” he said.

He told members of the diplomatic corps how Divine Providence has played a great role in lifting up the Filipino spirit despite the tragedies that befell the country.

“Our unbreakable spirit and ability to recover find root in our firm belief in a benevolent God who has the perfect plan for all of us. These tragedies tell us that despite all our efforts, we are indeed powerless without God,” Aquino stressed.

Aquino earlier downplayed also the number of casualties saying it was closer to 2,500 than the 10,000 estimated by a police official. To this point, update for the death toll has breached the 6,000 mark.

Moreover, NDRRMC reported that the more than 3.4 million families or over 16 million persons were affected by the powerful typhoon.

The government has placed the total cost of damage caused by ‘Yolanda’ in the Visayas region is at at P36.6 billion including infrastructure and agriculture.

Meanwhile, Coloma said the government remained focused on the rehabilitation of communities affected by the earthquake and others devastated by previous weather disturbances.

“The government is looking at how to further improve the rehabilitation and reconstruction effort and do everything needed based on the ‘build-back better’ principle,” Coloma added.