The past year will always be remembered as a time filled with trials and tragedies that have affected us economically, physically, and mentally. It filled us with worry for our health and public safety, giving us a picture of a bleak future with the circumstances that we faced: from Taal volcano’s eruption in Batangas that led to evacuation procedures, to Kobe Bryant’s death that caused grief and sorrow worldwide, and the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) which dominated the whole year. The year 2020 challenged the status quo to test Filipinos and our survival.
We were forced to change our way of lives, especially as 4.6 million Filipinos in Metro Manila were left jobless as of July 2020. With the pandemic locking us in our homes, many businesses had no choice but to retrench employees or end their businesses altogether. Further, as the year was about to end, Typhoon Ulysses affected 1,046,871 people in regions I to V, NCR, and CAR; destroyed properties; and ravaged agricultural lands.
It was also a time when many students were abruptly introduced to online learning programs since face-to-face classes were prohibited as a safety precaution in the middle of the pandemic. Many had different opinions regarding this mode of learning. Those who were not in favor pronounced that not all students can afford a device, especially during these times. But for those who were able to enroll in schools with online learning programs, is learning truly taking place or are they merely expected to accomplish a continuing list of tasks?
The year also challenged our perception of uniformed personnel as police brutalities became online conversation pieces. An example is the killing of Sonya Gregorio and her son Frank Gregorio, shown through a viral video of police corporal Jonel Nuezca shooting the victims over a quarrel about “boga,” an improvised canon for new year celebrations.
Our definition of public service was also challenged. Congress denied the franchise of the largest media network in the country, ABS-CBN, even if previous government hearings have cleared the network of its supposed violations. Another is the battle for the House speakership between representatives Alan Peter Cayetano and Lord Allan Velasco. There also were the controversial Php 15 billion-worth of missing funds of the PhilHealth and the Php 389 million fund for the artificial white sand in the baywalk of Manila Bay.
It was disheartening to witness these issues unfold before our eyes, but we need to be tough, if only for our sanity. So as not to commit the same mistakes, we need to learn from and be prepared in facing situations like these by addressing their root causes. As we forge a new future ahead, may we bear in mind the lessons from the past.