From a press release from the Philippine Information Agency, here is a repost of an article about the present peace and order situation in the Mindanao, a major island of the country, that is blown by this war between the government and the MILF.
Feature: There will still be Christmas in Mindanao
by Brent M. Bravo
Iligan City (18 September) — Despite the clashes between the military and lawless groups in some parts of Mindanao and despite all the travel advisories against going to this southern part of the country, the people in Mindanao are already feeling the Christmas spirit.
As early as September, the first of the “ber” months, Christmas jingles are being continuously played in the radio and in stores and tiangges or flea markets to mark the start of the season.
Contrary to what others believe, Mindanao remains generally peaceful and people here welcome Christmas just like everyone else – by putting up a Christmas tree in their homes or by decorating their houses with wreaths and multi-colored lights.
The streets still remain safe and stores will soon be filled with Christmas decors and star lanterns or parol, adding color and excitement as people look forward to the month of December.
People in Mindanao will still anticipate their Christmas bonus and still plan to make the occasion special, even in their own little ways.
Children will still go house to house using home-made instruments singing Christmas carols and people from all walks of life will still flock malls to avail of season discounts and look for gifts.
On the midnight of December 24, the family will still gather for the traditional Noche Buena feast and to exchange gifts.
There will still be Christmas in Mindanao. This year’s celebration will still be a peaceful one, even if the whole country, even maybe the world, thinks that turmoil is everywhere here.
There may be conflict in some of its areas but despite of all these, the Christmas spirit is very much alive in Mindanao and people still go out to greet each other “Merry Christmas!” (PIA-10