2022: We are looking forward with much hope and optimism

Published January 1, 2022, 12:05 AM

by Manila Bulletin


A new year always brings with it a renewed sense of hope. Compared to the start of 2021, citizens of the world welcomed 2022 with optimism and more merriment, tempered slightly by the resurgent threat of the Omicron variant. Here in the Philippines, the New Year was welcomed with more fun, feasts, and fireworks, but the rest of the country was not in the mood for parties, particularly in areas still reeling from the devastation wrought by Typhoon Odette.

On the first day of 2022, it would be best to cast aside worries that beset us in 2021 but it should not be at the expense of caution. The pandemic is still here and no expert could determine if the WHO would announce its end this year. With vaccination rates rising all over the world, especially in the Philippines, one bright spot in 2022 is that we could achieve herd immunity in the first quarter. That bodes well in time for election season, which culminates in the national vote on May 9, 2022.

After the election, mid-2022 will see a new administration taking the helm of government. A new administration brings with it a fresh mandate to implement bold and better steps to tackle the post-pandemic recovery. All of us should hope that whoever wins, he or she must leave behind the political bickering to the past and focus instead on what can unite this country. This year is another crucial time to build on the momentum of economic growth courtesy of the opening of businesses and easing of restrictions.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is also optimistic, forecasting the country’s economic growth at 5.1 percent in 2021, and eventually, rising further to 6.0 percent in 2022. That is something to look forward to, as the country transitions from pandemic survival to pandemic recovery, as the ADB noted the country’s commendable efforts in vaccination and containing the virus spread.

In a statement together with the report, ADB Philippines country director Kelly Bird said, “The Philippine economy has shown impressive resilience. Growth momentum has clearly picked up on the back of the government’s vigorous drive to vaccinate Filipinos against COVID-19. Public spending on infrastructure and continued vaccination of the population will help the country further accelerate its recovery in 2022.”

The ADB also noted that public spending on major infrastructure projects will support the country’s economic growth. The ADB cited the “Build, Build, Build” as this infrastructure development program’s reach in building roads, bridges, and railways had fueled faster growth, especially in areas outside Metro Manila.

All these indicators are proof that there is positive news coming our way this year. Economic experts have painted rosy scenarios of businesses thriving once more, schools opening their doors, and people gathering once more for events and spending for travel in and out of the country. But there is one big factor to upend all these – an unreliable election that results in political instability. There can be no economic progress if the political front is messy and chaotic.

All of us look forward to something better in 2022. We do not want to undergo the anxiety of 2020, or feel the numbness of 2021. We want the young ones to go to school once more, for the businessmen to invest in job-generating industries, for people to travel once more so the tourism industry could recover.

Let 2022 be a year of recovery, of hope, and of us loving God, country, and our neighbors more than we did in the past. May empathy in our lives start manifesting today.