01/04/2005, 00.00
PHILIPPINES
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Christians and Muslims pray for tsunami victims

by Sonny Evangelista

Manila declares January 7 a "day of national prayer and mourning".

Manila (AsiaNews) – Next Friday, January 7, Christians and Muslims will join together to pray for the estimated 150,000 victims of the December 26 tsunami in accordance with the decision of the Filipino government to hold a "day of national prayer and mourning".

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said that "Friday is a good day to have a day of prayer because the Muslims pray especially on Friday and also because it's the first Friday of the month".

Mgr Fernando Capalla, Archbishop of Davao and president of the Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (BCP), announced that the BCP'S Permanent Council has marked January 9th, the feast of the Baptism of our Lord, as "a day of prayer for the victims of the tsunami that hit the Asian region."

In the meantime, dioceses across the Philippines have been collecting money and supplies for the stricken areas.

Contributions will be channelled through the BCP's National Secretariat for Social Justice and Peace, which will send them to the different Asian dioceses affected by the catastrophe.

Recalling that typhoons killed 1,500 people in the Philippines last December, Archbishop Capalla said: "Although we have been badly hit by recent calamities, we Filipinos can still share something".

President Arroyo will attend the ASEAN tsunami relief summit scheduled for January 6 in Jakarta, Indonesia.

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