The year 2008 is about to end. It has been one that many would want to leave behind and forget. Day after day, countries have been announcing that they are in a recession. Even the mighty United States and Japan, the two largest economies, became powerless victims of the global crisis that was expected to worsen further next year. And, sad to say, despite all the feel-good publicities of the Philippine government about the ability of our economy to withstand the brunt, still we cannot spare ourselves from the crisis.
In fact, even before Wall Street nosedived, we have been affected by crises of gargantuan proportions. The skyrocketing price of fuel and rice in the first half of the year had already aggravated poverty in the Philippines. Mix that with political circus and social unrest and we have a country with a bleak prospect about its future.
Yet despite all these morose developments in 2008, Filipinos still managed to prove to the world that we can weather crises with style. Pinoys have been represented by notable achievers that waved the Philippine flag in every victory they achieved. Manny Pacquiao won thrice this year, the last of which has propelled him towards the status of boxing legends. Charice Pempengco and Arnel Pineda, who were both discovered on YouTube in earlier years, has been wowing the world with their breathtaking voices. The Filipino movie Himala, directed by the late Ishmael Bernal and starred by Nora Aunor, bested the way more popular classics such as The Seven Samurais of Japan and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon of China by winning the CNN Asia Pacific Screen Awards Viewers Choice Award for Best Asia-Pacific Film of all Time. They, among many others, have shown the world what Filipinos are really made of.
Also, many countries have been opening their doors to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), who are known for their dedication, industry, versatility and talent. These qualities have made them one of the most sought after migrant workers. Being such, there are now Filipinos in almost every corner of the world.
Filipino workers are not only imported, but, thanks to business process outsourcing (BPO), the Philippines has been flocked by foreigners because of the nation’s capacity to deliver cheap yet quality services.
No one can undo the past. And no matter how we resent it, we have no other option but to move on forward, whether we like it or not. We have to leave 2008 behind and welcome 2009 with one thing in mind: we CAN turn crises into opportunities. We have scores of kababayans who have already done that despite crises in the past. Now, it is our turn in 2009.