It is undeniable that most Filipinos are optimists who believe that every New Year always brings renewed hope.
The perennial sense of optimism, which can be high even among those who felt Christmas was so sad, has been shown in various surveys conducted throughout the years across every social class and geographic area.
The latest SWS survey taken last Dec. 12-16 showed 93 percent of adult Filipinos felt hopeful than fearful for Christmas and this new year. Of course, because of the timing, the survey was unable to capture the sudden sadness and utter sense of hopelessness among the many Filipinos devastated by Typhoon Odette that hit on Dec. 16.
The lingering bleakness in typhoon-ravaged areas and the worrisome times ahead due to the continuing spike in COVID cases caused by the Omicron variant might have adversely affected our optimism greatly, but the resiliency of Filipinos seems unbreakable.
Our resiliency, according to Manuel L. Quezon, is like that of a bamboo tree that bends with strong winds. The late president aptly described Filipinos as “pliant like a bamboo” in overcoming adversity and adjusting to tremendous challenges.
Such resiliency and optimism can be so overwhelming that it sustains enthusiasm to push on and confront life’s difficulties even amid many daunting odds and so much negativity all around.
Being Asia’s predominantly Christian country, our overwhelming optimism is borne out of our deep faith and trust in God who, as Pope Francis assures us, always gives hope. “God always opens doors, He never closes them. He is the Father who opens doors for us,” he said.
Thus, renewed hope can be found amid worrisome times. Among the sources of great hope is the fact that, unlike around this time last year, the Philippines now seems to have a steady supply of vaccines to fight the coronavirus pandemic even when the Omicron variant eventually gains dominance.
The supply of vaccines would enable more vaccination, including booster shots and inoculation of young Filipinos aged 12 to 17, leading to improved chances for economic recovery and growth.
“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,” according to a recent statement of the Asian Development Bank.
Another source of hope for 2022 is the upcoming May elections that would pave the way for installing new leaders who could inspire cooperation and support of all sectors of society in the quest for excellence in governance.
Despite fears that this year’s elections will be no different from previous ones that have shown the full extent of our electoral dysfunction like patronage politics, election-related violence, corruption, alliances, vote-buying, fraud, and a host of other ills afflicting our political spectrum, the electorate has the power to change things for the better.
As the election campaign shifts to high gear in the coming months, the compassionate, competent, and God-fearing politicians who genuinely have their constituents’ interests at heart would have a chance of winning if massive support comes from enlightened Filipinos who will fight against all the dirty tricks and maneuverings to muddle issues and sow doubt and confusion in the public discourse.
Enlightened voters would have to bear in the mind the Holy Bible’s warning of perilous times and perilous men (2 Timothy 3), those who will be “unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good” whom people should turn away from. “For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of [the] gullible…” It is essential for all of us to extensively analyze what are being presented during the campaign so we can separate the chaff from the grain, and determine the outright lies and disinformation masquerading as truth. Though Philippine politics may not be ideal, let us not lose hope. There are still good men and women out there who can best lead us and bring about excellence in governance.
Let us seek God’s guidance for us to discern and fully support not only the lesser evil but the truly excellent politicians who can inspire positive change and bring much needed relief for all Filipinos. Amid these tumultuous times, may the Philippines be blessed with better times ahead. Happy New Year!
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