Hope for the future

By Joshua Corcuera

To summarize 2022 from my own point of view, it was an eventful year. For my last column for this year, I will try to bring you, dear reader, back to memory lane as we look at the important events that marked the year. With this, allow me to cite some words from my previous articles this 2022.

This year, we saw the impact of globalization

While looking at previous columns, I found my February 26 column entitled, “An interconnected world” which tackled how globalization became the norm in the 21st century. This is because, just a few days before I contributed that article, Russia invaded Ukraine which resulted in a serious economic crisis in the West, and also indirectly affected the Philippines during the same time. In the weeks that followed, prices of gas rose through the. From that event, it reinforced my belief about the importance of being aware and having a say on global events and current affairs.

I ended that article saying this: “In our simple daily lives, this lesson is also applicable. For instance, we may not care about the issues affecting our communities because they have no severe direct impact. Still, it is imperative to be vigilant of such because what may not affect us today, would affect us tomorrow. And more importantly, when will we speak up? Only when we are already the ones affected?

This year, we cared about elections

Voter turnout is high in the 2022 Philippine presidential elections with an estimated 5 out of 6 registered voters casting their ballot. Clearly, a huge majority of us cared about elections, about our voice, about our hopes for the future. We all knew the outcome: Ferdinand Marcos Jr. was elected the 17th president with more than 31 million votes, with former Vice President Leni Robredo placing second at more than 15 million votes. Marcos Jr. is the first majority-elected president of the Fifth Republic.

A week after the elections, I found my column and read some words that many would find useful, not necessarily in politics, but in life. To sum up that article, I began with the obvious notion that failure is humiliating. There is no need to expound further for obvious reasons; who will be proud that s/he failed an exam or was rejected by someone s/he admired. Definitely, when we pursue something, we only want one outcome and that is to win. I ended that article with a realization: “I realized that sometimes, defeat is uplifting, it is something that we can be proud of in exceptional cases.”

This year, we remained resilient amid hardships

After all is said and done during the messy campaign period, we returned to our normal way of life. Or so we thought.

In my opinion, we dealt with two serious problems during the second half of the year: (1) unusually high inflation and (2) natural disasters. In my column last August 8, I informed my readers that inflation was at 6.4% by July 2022. Unfortunately, inflation even accelerated faster in the months that followed peaking at 8% as of November 2022. The normal inflation rate is at around 2% to 4% which means we really have to deal with higher prices of goods and services.

When we go outside, we cannot deny that prices of basic commodities have generally gone up. Even jeepney fare is now costly at twelve pesos. A decade ago, I remember paying six or seven pesos to school as a junior high school student which is no longer the case today. Based on personal observations, the prices of common things I buy such as sugar, milk, street food, biscuits have increased significantly as well. Still, we remained resilient amid these challenges and remain hopeful that things will get better in the future. It is important as well, however, to hold into account the-powers-that-be who are in power to alleviate suffering and make our lives less stressful.

Aside from inflation, typhoons, as usual, devastated the country during the latter part of the year. We must be reminded of the impact of climate change on society and be prepared to adapt with stronger storms. During the last week of September, Super Typhoon Karding brought devastation to several parts of the country, affected livelihoods, and even claimed lives.

Arguably, 2022 is not the best year for many especially with inflation and typhoons. On the other side, it may not be the worst because, at the very least, the pandemic seems to be over, and a huge majority of the population is already vaccinated against COVID-19. Generally, we have returned to normal and workers can now report physically to work, and students can attend classes physically.

For me, it is certainly not the best year, but I remain hopeful that 2023 will be a better year. And I hope you, dear reader, remain optimistic of the year ahead.