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Blue Xmas for many Filipinos, SWS says

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Only half of the country’s population will be celebrating a happy Christmas in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, a recent survey released by the Social Weather Station (SWS) shows.

SWINGING SANTA. A man dressed as Santa Claus, foregoing his traditional sled and reindeers, uses a rope to descend from the roof of a paediatric clinic in Ljubljana, Slovenia on December 24, 2020. AFP 

This is the lowest on record, plunging 12 points from the previous record-low of 62 percent in 2013, 2006, and 2005. Last year, 79 percent of Filipinos expected a happy Christmas,the survey said.

Those expecting a happy Christmas are still majorities in Mindanao (65 percent) and the Visayas (57 percent), but are only minorities in Balance Luzon (42 percent) and Metro Manila (36 percent).

On the other hand, 15 percent of Filipinos expect this year’s Christmas to be sad—a new record, surpassing the 11 percent posted in 2011. In 2019, only 2 percent expected a blue Christmas.

The expectation of a sad Christmas was customarily in single-digits, ranging from 2 percent to 9 percent. It was only in 2004, 2009, 2011, and 2020 when it reached double-digits, ranging from 10 percent to 15 percent. Expectations of a sad Christmas was higher among self-rated poor families, and those who believe that their quality-of-life got worse.

The 33 percent expecting the coming Christmas to be neither happy nor sad is also a record that surpassed the previous record of 29 percent in 2006.

Some 55 percent said they will celebrate the Noche Buena with the family only, and 49 percent said they will go to church or attend religious services.

In the November 2020 survey, the SWS found that 16 percent or an estimated 4 million families experienced involuntary hunger due to lack of food to eat – at least once in the past three months.

These results were from the Fourth Quarter 2020 Social Weather Survey which was conducted from Nov. 21-25, 2020, using face-to-face interviews with 1,500 adults (18 years old and above) nationwide.

The sampling error margins are ±2.5 percent for national percentages, ±4 percent for Balance Luzon, and ±6 percent for Metro Manila, the Visayas, and Mindanao.

Palace officials urged Filipinos to share their blessings with those affected by tragedies and to observe minimum health standards while celebrating Christmas during the pandemic.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said while the country has confronted struggles this year, there were “silver linings” that people could be thankful for.

He expressed hope that Christmas this year would be filled with hope, peace, and joy.

“As we celebrate this season, we call upon all Filipinos to remember to share our blessings to our brothers and sisters who have been badly affected by natural or personal tragedies,” Roque said.

He also asked Filipinos to give more compassion, understanding, and patience.

“It is high time that we collectively unite as one nation and one people for a better Philippines,” Roque said.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar enjoined Filipinos to embody the “bayanihan” spirit by giving to those in need.

“Christmas is the time of the year when we remember and celebrate the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ,” Andanar said in a separate statement.

“Let us also take time from our merrymaking to solemnly reflect and ponder over the lessons and morals we can learn from the Bible about Christ’s birth, and practice the humility, compassion, and kindness Christ has displayed.”

He also reminded Filipinos to follow health protocols and minimum health standards while spending the holidays with their families at a limited capacity or virtually.

“May everyone keep in mind and observe the necessary health protocols and minimum health standards during the Yuletide season, in line with our fight against COVID-19, for us to heal and recover as one nation,” Andanar said.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the security sector would keep the holidays safe for the public. With PNA


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