Hoping for a Hope-filled 2021

2020 was a challenging year for most Filipinos. Despite the challenges posed and are still posed by the past year, most Filipinos are welcoming 2021 with cautious positivity.

2020 was a challenging year for most Filipinos. The year started with the eruption of Taal Volcano in Batangas, which caused damage to properties and livelihood at communities surrounding it and Taal Lake, and the large-scale evacuation of residents within the volcano's 20-kilometer danger zone to other municipalities and cities in the province, and in Cavite, Laguna and Quezon. It was capped with the string of tropical depressions, storms and typhoons that went through almost all parts of the country and caused widespread damage and massive flooding, especially in areas such as Bicol, the Marikina River Valley, Cagayan and Isabela.

However, nothing can be tougher than the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The disease, caused by a new type of coronavirus, caused the loss of lives of many, especially doctors, nurses and other health care professionals, the elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions such as heart disease and diabetes and a weaker immune system. The economic toll of the pandemic is much worse, as the government-enforced lockdowns to prevent the further spread of the disease caused businesses to either cut down on the number of workers or close for good, resulting to massive job losses and lost economic opportunities. The flow of commerce was severely disrupted, causing the prices of and accessibility to some commodities to increase as stricter travel and quality control restrictions are in place not only within the Philippines but in other countries as well.

2020 ended on a mixed not, COVID-19 pandemic-wise. There was hope that the pandemic would soon come to an end with the development of various vaccines, although there are questions regarding accessibility by most countries, especially poor ones, since the richer nations, especially the United States, the worst hit country in world, have cornered most of the vaccine supplies. Optimism was somewhat dampened with the discovery of a mutation of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 that makes it more transmissible, although it has yet to be established if it is more fatal compared to the original virus. This prompted countries such as the Philippines to enforce travel restrictions to flights coming from the United Kingdom and other areas with reported cases of the new COVID-19 virus strain.

Despite the challenges posed and are still posed by the past year, most Filipinos are welcoming 2021 with cautious positivity. There is this fervent hope that the New Year will be much better, with the pandemic truly coming to an end, the COVID-19-causing virus being crushed and disappearing, and new economic opportunities emerging to help those lost their livelihoods to get back on their feet again. Everybody seems to be wanting one thing in unison in 2021: A return to normal life, although there may be some changes that all can get accustomed to.

This New Year, I hope and pray for the best for each and every one of us. We may all be struggling right now because of what happened last year in one or another, but we should never lose hope. Each New Year gives us new chances- a chance to stand up again after a momentary stumble, a chance to be happy once more after a brief period of silence and solitude, and a chance to seize new opportunities that would come our way. Most of us, if not all of us, are all hoping for a hope-filled 2021, and I am glad that we all share that same level of optimism on this day, January 1, 2021.

I wish all of us and our loved ones a very happy new year, and a much better and more prosperous 2021.

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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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