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PIA Press Release

Pinoys must avoid lavish Christmas parties in keeping with PNoy's austerity measures

Tacloban City (December 7) -- In keeping with President Benigno Aquino's austerity measures, Filipinos were advised to avoid lavish spending during the Christmas season.

Deputy presidential spokeswoman Abigail Valte said government offices would also spend less for Christmas parties, while the education department has issued a directive for schools to temper the fun.

"In keeping with the austerity policy of the Aquino administration, we can celebrate a meaningful Christmas with our office mates without going over the top," Valte said.

The government, she said, also advised the public to eat in moderation for health reasons.

Education Secretary Armin Luistro also issued a directive to the country's 43,000 elementary and secondary schools to keep Christmas parties simple.

Teachers are barred from collecting money for parties from parents -- a common practice which Luistro said added to the burden of many poor families.

"I would like to remind our dear teachers and students to continue observing austere measures as they prepare for Christmas parties in schools," he said.

"Let us remember that the true spirit of Christmas is not in grand celebrations but in spreading love and sharing our hearts to those who are in need this holiday season."

This Christmas season, Luistro emphasized, is not an exemption and that the "no collection policy" will still be applied.

Secretary Luistro noted that the guidelines in holding Christmas parties which specified that contributions for celebrations in schools or offices whether in cash or kind should be strictly voluntary under DepEd Order 114, series of 2009 should still be followed. Moreover, gift-giving should be guided by the spirit of sharing and should not lead to extravagant spending.

Secretary Luistro added that if the entire school community helps in the preparation of a simple Christmas party, the celebration will become more special.

"A simple Christmas celebration in school can still turn into a memorable event when prepared and executed through the active involvement of the school administrator, teachers, staff, and students. This will reveal a deeper understanding in the true meaning of this season - love, friendship, and a strong support system among the community members."

The order also mentioned that disruption of academic activities in schools in lieu of holding Christmas parties should be minimized. Christmas break in public schools will officially begin on Saturday, December 18, 2010. Classes will resume on Monday, January 3, 2011. (PIA 8) [top]

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