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Opinion

EDITORIAL – Celebration, tragedy

The Philippine Star

The year was marked by a combination of great celebration and abominable tragedy. It opened with the historic visit of Pope Francis, who spread joy and hope particularly in the typhoon-devastated city of Tacloban. It ended with Filipina Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach winning the Miss Universe crown 42 years after Margie Moran won the title.

In between, the nation grappled with the slaughter of 44 police Special Action Force commandos in Mamasapano, Maguindanao. As a result, a new year is dawning with the fate of the peace process with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front still in limbo.

Much of the year was dominated by positioning for the general elections in May 2016. Vice President Jejomar Binay, hounded by corruption charges, broke away from the administration as his son was yanked out as Makati mayor. President Aquino picked his preferred successor, Mar Roxas, who led officials in leaving government posts to prepare for their election campaigns.

As the President began saying goodbye, the nation also hosted events that culminated in the annual leaders’ summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. The APEC events raised the Philippine profile, although the summit itself caused massive disruptions in Metro Manila whose economic costs analysts placed at billions of pesos.

Amid the corruption scandals, election preparations and major events, the nation grappled with persistent problems of inadequate infrastructure, criminality, red tape and corruption in the bureaucracy. In Metro Manila, pollution, worsening traffic and poor mass transportation plagued residents.

Economic growth decelerated during the year although it was still among the best in the region. The nation sustained its credit ratings and investor confidence remained high, but the nation continued to lag behind its neighbors in terms of investment levels, tourism, job generation and other economic indicators.

The two major pollsters reported the usual high hopes for a better year among about 90 percent of Filipinos. Elections usually bode changes that voters hope will be for the better. But government officials cannot do the work alone. For everyone, the end of the year is a day for committing to make the incoming one a better time for the nation.

AS THE PRESIDENT

ASIA-PACIFIC ECONOMIC COOPERATION

FILIPINA PIA ALONZO WURTZBACH

IN METRO MANILA

MAR ROXAS

MARGIE MORAN

METRO MANILA

MISS UNIVERSE

MORO ISLAMIC LIBERATION FRONT

POPE FRANCIS

PRESIDENT AQUINO

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