Hoping for a Better December

In our own little ways, we can make this coming December much better for ourselves, our loved ones and our communities.

It is now the month of September. During this time of the year, most people are already looking forward to the Christmas holidays, a time to be with family members and friends, and a two-week long vacation heading towards New Year's Day. At this time of the year, some establishments start playing Christmas carols, from Original Pilipino Music (OPM) composed and sung by the likes of Jose Mari Chan to those coming from international artists such as Mariah Carey.

However, things are and will still be different this year. The COVID-19 pandemic forced many to stay away from the malls and prevented travel to the provinces, as the government and health experts are working on ways to prevent the spread of the disease. The economic effects are more felt directly by Filipinos, as many workers lost their jobs, many business owners are forced to stop operations and cash is scarce. There seems to be an aura of pessimism not only in the Philippines but throughout the world.

Despite what we are going through right now, I believe that we can still look forward to a better December, one where we can truly enjoy the holidays at the company of family and friends. Governments and scientists around the world are working together to look for a cure or a vaccine against COVID-19, with some vaccines already undergoing Phase III trials in several locations around the world, including the Philippines. The Philippine government and its foreign counterparts are working on new economic plans and recalibrated response to the COVID-19 pandemic to slowly re-open economies, and, under the "new normal," resume business activity in order to open new job and business opportunities to many, especially those who were displaced by the lockdowns and closure of industries.

In our own little ways, we can make this coming December much better for ourselves, our loved ones and our communities. Maybe we cannot make our presence felt physically given the need for social distancing and transport-related limitations nowadays but a phone call, a text message or a video call can go a long way when checking on our loved ones and friends. We can help our fellow Filipinos who are experiencing financial difficulties by patronizing their small businesses, referring them to job opportunities where they are highly qualified and doing random acts of kindness.

Last but certainly the most important of all, we can make December a lot better if we will follow basic health and safety protocols that are being implemented by the government. We should wear face masks and face shields whenever we go out of our homes. We should maintain a minimum physical distance of one meter to protect ourselves and those around us. We should wash our hands with soap and water or, if it is not possible, clean them with alcohol or alcohol-based sanitizer. Doing so will help prevent the spread of the disease, which, hopefully, will lead to a COVID-free December.

The present realities may dampen the holiday spirit of many but that should not be the case. The truth is the realities that we are now facing is still within our control. We can be hopeful but, at the same time, we must do our best to realize the goal of having a better and COVID-free December.

About the Author
Benedict is an agricultural economist, academician and writer. He has gained experience and expertise in various fields of economics, business, political science and public relations after through professional ventures in the academe, and in the public and private sectors. He has authored or co-authored key publications on topics ranging from agriculture and food security to global affairs and politics.
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