, January 3, 2005
(STAR) President Gloria Arroyo declared Friday, January 7, as a National Day of Prayer and Mourning for the thousands of victims of the deadly tsunami that struck neighboring countries last December 26, 2004.

In a press conference held Monday morning at Malacañang, Pres. Arroyo said she will lead the national prayer and mourning a day after she returns to the country from attending the emergency summit on tsunami in Jakarta.

The summit is set on January 6.

"I’d like to announce that we’re going to have a National Day of Prayer and Mourning for those who perished in the tsunami on Friday," she said.

The President said she believes that it is appropriate to hold the day of prayer and mourning on Friday, the same day that Christians will be observing the first Friday mass so that their Muslim brothers can also offer their prayers to the victims of tsunami.

But prior to the day of prayer, Pres. Arroyo has requested evangelical groups to lead the nation in offering prayers tomorrow for the same intention.

She also said that everybody is welcomed to join the Day of Prayer and Mourning.

GMA to attend emergency summit on tsunami in Jakarta 01/03 12:35:39 PM

Malacañang Monday announced that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will attend an emergency summit in Jakarta that would discuss urgent measures to address the gargantuan problems brought about by the tsunami that hit 11 nations in South Asia and Africa last December 26 and killed tens of thousands of people.

In a statement she read at the Palace, Pres. Arroyo said that the holding of a tsunami summit in Jakarta "is urgent and significant not only to step up the international humanitarian response to the multi-nation disaster, but to enhance regional disaster-preparedness through consolidated information sharing and early warning system."

She said that the country’s modernization plan for its own forecasting system must be aligned with the regional effort under the theme "all for one and one for all."

She also said that the Philippines has seen and even experienced the high cost of being caught unaware of devastating calamities, referring to the killer landslide that recently hit the provinces of Quezon, Aurora, Nueva Ecija and the Bicol Region.

"Disaster mitigation must now be everyone’s and every nation’s business. Once more, each nation must act locally but think globally," the President said.

Press Secretary and Presidential Spokesman Ignacio Bunye said that the President is expected to leave on Wednesday, January 5.

Bunye said that the summit, to be attended by some world leaders, including heads of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), will be held on January 6.

Reports said that the emergency summit, to be hosted by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, will be attended by United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, US Secretary of State Colin Powell, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, and New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark.

Indonesia has the most number of casualties among the nations hit by the tsunami. Along with the Philippines, Indonesia is one of the six founding members of ASEAN.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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