Good spirit, best wishes and high hopes cannot but accompany the greetings of "Happy New Year!" Said and heard the world over. However, during thses particular times in the life of our country, the truth has to be said that the greetings carry a good amount of reservation.
In other words, with the doubts and ears that accompany the day to day living of millions of Filipinos, it is rather easy to say "Happy New Year!" But truly hard to expect that the year 2007 would be really happy, this is not pessimism but reality, not surrender but the truth--considering that the national present is difficult and the country's future is rather bleak.
It is said that all economic indicators are up, investments are pouring in, the peso is never that strong. Yet millions do not have enough to eat. People die for lack of medicine. The peso has never been buying so much less. Some 2800 Filipinos leave the country to find work abroad. They not only finance their families but also fund the government.
So many extrajudicial and political killings still go on, with most of the killers remaining free to kill again--and again. No less than two billion pesos were allegedly set aside not really to stop but simply to lessen graft and corruption in government. But the Philippines continues to top the horror roll in cheating and stealing of public funds.
There is also the still pending charter change that makes the present administration copiously salivate for reasons really known only to the national leadership and its allies incorporated. This fact alone already assures a good amount social unrests in the country. It is not hard to foresee more angry people staging more protest rallies and marches this year.
And there is the May 2007 midterm elections--so far still scheduled to this writing. The exercise brings both good and very bad news. It is a promising event as people will be given opportunity to once again choose their political leaders according to the constitution--with or without the ever interesting and intriguing "Garci factor" in one form or another.
But there is also the standard guns, gold and goons that usually accompany elections in this country. Therewith go killing, violence and cheating--as a matter of course. If fact, these usual accompaniments of the election process have already begun towards the end of last year.
Happy New Year! Really?
+O.V. CRUZ, D.D.
1 January 2007