EVERY beginning offers reasons to hope for something better and brighter in the future.
This may well be the reason for the record-high 96 percent preference for hope over fear for the new year, as shown in the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey.
While the survey, conducted December 8-16, had only 1, 200 respondents across the country, I find the result predictable given the generally optimistic character of Filipinos.
What’s more interesting was the roller coaster-like percentage of hope for the new year since SWS started the survey in 2000.
“Hope for the New Year has always been high, starting at 87 percent when SWS first surveyed it in 2000. It went to 88 percent in 2001, and reached 95 percent in 2002 before easing to 90n percent in 2003, 81 percent in 2004, and 85 percent in 2005. It ranged from 91 percent to 92 percent from 2006 to 2008, before falling to 89 percent in 2009. It recovered to 93 percent in 2010, and has since then been at 90s levels, reaching a record 96 percent in 2017,” SWS said in a statement.
From these figures, I noticed significant jumps in the rating during transitions to new political leaderships: from 88 percent in 2001 to 95 percent in 2002 from Joseph Estrada to the Gloria Arroyo presidency; then, from 89 percent in 2009 to 93 percent in 2010 from Arroyo to the Benigno Aquino presidency; and, from 95 percent in 2016 to 96 percent in 2017 from Aquino to the Duterte presidency.
However, the ratings dropped from 95 percent in 2002 to 90 percent in 2003, and further down to 81 percent in 2004 as allegations of massive corruption and election cheating were leveled against Arroyo. But then it went up to 85 percent in 2005 following promises of reforms, and recovered further to 91 to 92 percent between 2006 and 2008, but went down again to 89 percent in 2009.
The rating was sustained at 93 to 95 percent under the Aquino leadership.
The increase in 2017 was only one point but it was the highest nonetheless, overtaking at 95 percent in 2002, 2011 and 2016, despite the new and increased taxes under the administration’s tax reform package and the impending increases in prices of consumer goods. Consumers have been psyched to have higher take-home pay in 2018 owing to the higher exemptions in the withholding tax on salaries.
Before 2017 ended, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) showed that the administration’s aggressive war on drugs can be successful without much blood on the streets.
Since PDEA took over the campaign against illegal drugs in October, it recorded only two deaths of suspected drug criminals, compared with 3, 968 killed since July 2016, as admitted by the Philippine National Police (PNP). These are official figures that are contrary to the 13,000 plus extrajudicial killings claimed by human rights advocates.
Perhaps there is optimism of a less bloody drug war in 2018 because the PDEA has shown the PNP how it should be carried out.
There is hope that the Duterte administration will be harsh on corrupt government officials regardless of kinship, position and influence.
I hope that the administration will realize that the additional money it would raise from the tax reform package should be judiciously spent and equitably distributed to the communities instead of using taxpayers’ money as a partisan weapon to suppress dissent.
One of the few good things about 2017 was the strict regulation on the use of firecrackers and pyrotechnics under Republic Act No. 7183 and Executive Order No. 28, which confines the use of pyrotechnics to community fireworks displays. The regulation practically wiped out previous years’ statistics on injuries related to the Christmas and New Year revelries.
If the administration can enforce RA 7183 and EO 28, perhaps there is still hope that our leaders both in the public and business sectors woke up today, the first day of 2018, with bright minds on rendering genuine public service, instead of the usual self-centeredness and greed at the expense of the people whom they have sworn to serve.
There is hope that this year, our lawmakers would think about and consider the real sentiments of the majority of their constituents in voting for changes in the 1987 Constitution and set aside their personal desire to stay in power for as long as they want.
This new day in a new year ushers in not much hope given the dark clouds of the previous year, but we have not completely lost hope. It is like the sunrise of a new day after a devastating storm.
I prefer sunrise because it brings out light after darkness. Sunset may look better in pictures than sunrise, but the darkness after sunset scares me. I prefer looking forward to new prospects and possibilities than looking backward at how a day had passed by.