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Philippines offers prayers following Benedict XVI's death

The Philippines on Saturday expressed its sympathies following the death of former pope Benedict XVI.

"We are in deep sorrow upon learning of the passing of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI today," President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said in a statement.

Marcos said the country, which has the largest Catholic population in Asia, "is one in offering our prayers for the eternal repose of his soul."

"We keep his loved ones in our prayers," he added.

The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines, meanwhile, said Benedict XVI will be remembered as the "pope of charity."

"If Pope Francis is known as the Pope of Mercy and Joy, Pope Benedict will be remembered as the Pope of Charity. He began his episcopacy with a profoundly theological encyclical entitled Deus Caritas Est (God is Love)," CBCP president Pablo Virgilio David said in a statement.

The former pope died at the age of 95, the Vatican announced Saturday, almost a decade after he became the first pontiff to resign in six centuries. 

His body will be displayed in the solemn setting of Saint Peter's Basilica beginning Monday morning, allowing the faithful to pay their respects. —VBL, GMA Integrated News