Today is the first day of 2022. There are 364 days left before this year will end. Before reaching the end, one has to travel different kinds of roads—rough and smooth; the frequently traveled and the less traveled.
In places devastated by Typhoon Odette (international name: Rai), waking up this year in a house that still has no electricity could still feel like waking up in 2021.
There could be no difference when one is in a state of discomfort.
The Covid-19 pandemic is still here. It is not yet certain when the coronavirus will become endemic.
Europe and the Americas have seen a surge of new cases because of the coronavirus’ Omicron variant. In the Philippines, health authorities said they have detected four Omicron variant cases in the country so far.
Hope and pray that the Omicron variant would not cause a surge of new cases in the Philippines in the first quarter of 2022. Getting vaccinated, wearing masks, observing physical distance and avoiding mass gatherings are still the keys to winning the fight against Covid-19. The easing of restrictions does not give one license to get reckless.
One of the good things that the pandemic has brought to the Philippines is the acceleration of online transactions—Filipinos have gone digital, especially during the time of strict community quarantine. The government must continue to strengthen the country’s digital infrastructure to protect it from cyber attacks. The confidence of people on doing bank transactions via the Internet and smartphones would be fortified if they hear no more news about banks being hacked by pseudonymous individuals like “Mark Nagoyo.”
Talking about money, Typhoon Odette has taught everyone that it is better to keep some bills, aside from preparing the basic essentials, before a storm arrives—and it is also good to save for the rainy and stormy days. However, bills could be rendered useless if a devastated place would descend into chaos where people resort to looting and other barbaric acts just to survive. No violence has occurred in the Odette-stricken areas in Visayas and Mindanao so far.
In politics, Filipino voters have to wait for 128 days before they will head to the polls on May 9, to elect the successor of President Rodrigo Duterte. One could help strengthen the Philippines’ infantile democracy by choosing the right leaders.
In the global arena, geopolitical tensions will continue to persist between Nato and Russia over Ukraine; America and China over economic supremacy; China and Taiwan; North Korea and South Korea. The ideological battle between democracy and autocracy will continue to pervade in the new year for sure. Breaking the fragile peace must not be an option for world powers. Diplomacy must be exercised.
Climate change is also one of the existential issues that humanity must continue to grapple with this year.
Today is the first day of 2022. Challenges from the past years have spilled over, and there will be new obstacles along the way. Overcoming them depends on humanity’s grit.