MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III will lead on Monday, January 20, a National Day of Prayer and Solidarity in light of incidents and natural calamities that struck the country last year.
The nationwide prayer is meant "to remember the lives lost to the tragic incidents of 2013, to thank the Almighty for the nation’s strength and resilience, and to seek divine guidance as the country moves forward to rebuild the affected communities," said Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr.
"We call on all citizens to pause and join 'One Nation in Prayer' (Isang Bansa, Isang Panalangin) in their respective homes, communities, places of work and worship," added Coloma.
The special event will be held at 5:00 pm on the Malacañang Palace grounds in Manila, and broadcast live on state-run radio and TV.
Leaders and members of Congress, all government officials, as well as representatives of civil society organizations and religious groups are invited to participate in the event.
"To join the President in prayer are representatives of the affected communities of the Zamboanga standoff, the Bohol earthquake, and typhoon 'Yolanda', and representatives of various faiths: Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, Police Superintendent Imam Ebra Moxsir of the Imam Council of the Philippines, Commissioner Zenaida Pawid of the National Commission of Indigenous Peoples, Isaias Samson of Iglesia ni Cristo, and Bishop Jonel Milan of the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches," Coloma said.
Vice President Jejomar Binay expressed his support for the event, and encouraged everyone to join.
"Once again, let our faith in the Almighty guide us towards a better, more secure future for our countrymen whose lives may have been altered, yet remain steadfast and unconquered in spirit.
And let us use this day to fervently pray for unity and an end to divisiveness, pettiness and hate. Let us embrace each other as brothers and sisters, united in moving our nation forward," Binay said in a statement.
The government has coordinated with the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP), but said that the coverage of the event by KBP members are clearly optional and voluntary, said Coloma.
Zamboanga City was in a middle of a three-week standoff between government forces and Muslim rebels in September last year. (READ: Zamboanga crisis over - Roxas)
On October 15, the Central Visayas region was hit by a magnitude-7.2 earthquake, which claimed the lives of 222 people, and injured 976 more. Over 3 million people, mostly in Bohol, were affected by the quake.
On November 8, typhoon Yolanda (international codename Haiyan) made landfall in eastern Visayas. It was the strongest storm in the world to ever make landfall. At least 16 million Filipinos were affected, with the islands of Samar and Leyte bearing the brunt of the storm. (READ: Aftermath of Yolanda (Typhoon Haiyan): What we know)
A total of 6,201 individuals were reported dead, and over 28,000 more injured, according to the latest report of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC). – Rappler.com