President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday led the lighting of the 40-foot Christmas tree in Malacañang as he granted a P60,000 bonus each to all the employees of the Office of the President.
President Duterte, through Palace Social Secretary Annalyn Tolentino, announced that OP employees will receive P50,000 in Christmas bonus and an additional P10,000, drawing cheers from the crowd at the Kalayaan Grounds in Malacañang.
Duterte will also give P3,000 in Christmas incentives to elected barangay officials and Indigenous People’s Representatives in appreciation of their work, said Senator Christopher Lawrence Go.
The beneficiaries of the Christmas incentives are barangay captains, kagawads, Sangguniang Kabataan chairpersons and Indigenous People’s Mandatory Representatives.
Go said the President wanted to show his appreciation for their hard work in their respective communities pending the passage of a measure providing for additional compensation for them.
In his speech, Duterte thanked the OP employees “for demonstrating an unwavering commitment and the highest standards of professionalism in public service.”
“With your genuine desire to serve our country, this administration was able to fulfill its [promises] to the Filipino people. Your dedication towards the work that you do is truly inspiring,” Duterte said.
“As we light up the Christmas tree in this historic grounds of Malacañang, it is my ardent hope that it will serve as a reminder for everyone to continue lighting up the lives of others, especially those who are suffering from poverty and injustice.”
The Christmas tree comprises of 1,393 pieces of Christmas balls and 1,235 stars illuminated by 1,235 LED lights.
Duterte also urged OP employees to ensure that Filipinos enjoyed the services of an “efficient, responsive and progressive government in the years to come.”
After switching on the lights of the Christmas tree and all the lanterns within the Kalayaan grounds, the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra performed “Joy to the World.”
The OP Chorale also sang Christmas hits such as “Kumukutikutitap” and “Ilang Tulog Pa Ba?”
Also present during the event were Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo, and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles.
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