MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday urged Filipinos to commemorate this holiday season the heroes and the victims in the Marawi siege.
"And in the midst of all merriment, let us pause and remember our countrymen who’ve lost their lives fighting for the integrity of our country and for those who lost their homes and loved ones in the recent war," Duterte said in a video posted on the Facebook page of the Presidential Communications Office.
"Those who are far from their families and those who are not as fortunate and as blessed as most of us. Let us show our true compassion and include them in our supplication during the Yuletide season," he added.
At least 1,000 people were killed in the 5-month siege of Marawi. Tens of thousands of residents were also displaced from their hometown, with some staying in evacuation centers for nearly half a year.
Lawmakers recently granted Duterte's request to extend martial law in Mindanao until the end of 2018 to quell the threat of terrorism in the region.
The President also wished for a "progressive and peaceful country" and for Filipinos to prosper.
"And as always, I wish a progressive and peaceful country and for the prosperity of our countrymen. Maligayang Pasko at Manigong Bagong Taon sa sa ating lahat," he said.