21 things to hope for in 2021

WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B Jimenez (The Freeman) - January 1, 2021 - 12:00am

What matters most to us now is not the pain or the regrets of the past, but the dreams and the hopes for the future. We can no longer do much about what has happened in the past. But we have the whole future before us, to make, by our gifts of vision, creativity, and passion. Thus, I venture to propose 21 hopes, seven for the world, seven for the Philippines and seven for Cebu, both city and province.

First, for the whole world, I hope for the end of the pandemic, for the effectiveness of the vaccines and their accessibility and affordability by all people. The whole of humanity has already suffered for too long and too wide. The health crisis has turned into an economic depression, which is now causing many social conflicts. If these are unabated, there is grave and imminent danger of escalation to political chaos and upheavals. Second is peace for the whole world, the end of tension everywhere, from Lebanon to Afghanistan, for leaders to negotiate for truce and for peace, to burn the guns and buy food for millions who are starving in poverty and hunger. That is my third hope, alleviation of global food insecurity and massive death by malnutrition and starvation. Fourth is a draconian measure against climate change, to end the ravaging of nature and turn-around the evil consequences of global warming.

Fifth is a stronger and more relevant UN, WHO, and ILO, better cooperation and harmony among the family of nations, solutions to conflicts based on ideology and class struggles. Sixth, is interfaith dialogues among religious groups, Christians, Jews, Muslims, and others, for cooperation and united actions against wars and terrorism. And seventh, to address the population problems in the whole overcrowded planet earth.

For the Philippines, my hopes are; first, better disaster readiness; second, less corruption and less crime; third, more food production; fourth, more social justice, agrarian reform, housing and better health, education and welfare; fifth, better foreign relations and solutions to the problems in the West Philippine Sea; sixth, internal security and peace accord with all organized groups in Mindanao and elsewhere; and seventh, addressing poverty and unemployment.

For the province and city of Cebu, our hopes are: first, solving the perennial traffic, flood and garbage problems; second, solving crimes and drugs for public safety, especially during the Sinulog and other major festivities; third, better business climate and government support; fourth, more jobs and livelihood for Cebuanos; fifth, the revival of tourism and travel industries; sixth, unity among the Cebuano leaders; and seventh, success in the celebration of 500 years of Christianity in our country, and as an added bonus, a red hat for Archbishop Jose Palma, to be made a cardinal by Pope Francis in 2021. These are not mere flimsy hopes or whimsical desires. These are what are truly needed in the world, in our country and in our province and city of Cebu. The whole world needs peace and progress, food and freedom and jobs and justice.

Focusing on Cebu, our local problems are intertwined. For instance, how can we have better business and tourism, if we cannot even address with urgency, focus, and purposiveness, the problems of garbage, traffic, and perennial flooding? We all know and we see these with our own eyes that, with just a few minutes of heavy downpour, our major thoroughfares are flooded, tons of garbage is seen floating, and the traffic problem is exacerbated? If you are a local tourist from Luzon, or a foreign tourist from Europe, and your car is caught in this mess just after going down from the Marcelo Fernan Bridge from the airport, would you ever come back to Cebu, much less recommend this city to your friends and associates? And when tourism is down, business is down, unemployment is up and life becomes more miserable.

That is why I have these 21 hopes for the city, for the nation and for the whole world. We are all connected. Our destinies are linked together. There is no island among us. We are on the same planet and on the same boat. We either swim together or sink together. We either survive together or perish as one whole failed humanity. And may God have mercy on our souls.


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