The Armed Forces and National Police would not hold Christmas parties this year and would use funds intended for such events to help address issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic instead, the agencies’ leaders said.
AFP chief Gen. Gilbert Gapay ordered the issuance of a directive telling all military units to not hold Christmas parties this year.
“Defer Christmas parties and similar celebrations as an austerity measure and as a gesture of sensitivity to our countrymen. Fellow Filipinos here and abroad have been suffering. And this is the least we can do to commiserate with the people we have sworn to secure and serve especially in this time of crisis,” he said.
Maj. Gen. Edgard Arevalo, AFP spokesman, said the amount that would have been spent for Yuletide revelries will be merged with funds to address COVID-19 requirements of personnel.
“This ‘ban’ on all Christmas festivities also conforms with the health protocols that proscribes mass gatherings which the AFP strictly enforces and observes.”
Earlier, PNP chief Gen. Camilo Pancratius Cascolan said he was considering ordering the entire police force to not hold Christmas parties.
“They will understand that. Instead of using the funds for the Christmas parties, we will be giving it out for COVID patients or maybe for the COVID fund.”
Cascolan said funds for lawmen’s Christmas parties may also be used to help stockpile food that will be distributed to the less fortunate.
Time for preparations and the parties, on the other hand, can be used by the police to strengthen defense against the further spread of COVID-19 in barangays, he said.
“We will try our best to at least better the services to our people. We will come out with services for the community.”