NEW YEAR’S MESSAGE
Happy New Year to all the organizations affiliated with the Philippines Japan Friendship Foundation.
As we open the new year, we can not help but look back at the year that had just passed. 2020 will always be remembered as Annus Horribilis. Taal volcano erupted in January 12, 2020. It was ominous sign for all of us. Soon enough, the Pandemic hit the world with fury. It is sadly still raging and has even morphed to a more virulent virus.
Along the path of the pandemic, it ruined the world economy and to make matters worse, mother nature hit the Philippines last November with a series of typhoons and floods of epic proportions. As the nation was reeling from all of these calamities, another pandemic hit our swine industry, the African Swine Fever has literally wiped out more than 70% of our hog farms in Luzon and threatens to decimate the same in Visayas and Mindanao.
To top it all, we lost one of our outstanding members, Feliciano L. Torres, last May 2020. We will sadly miss him. His leadership and pioneering vision will serve as an inspiration to all of us. Rest in peace Thotie.
Truly 2020 is a year we will never forget.
As we begin the year 2021, we must turn the page for a better year. After all, we have all hit rock bottom. The only way is to move up. We will soon have the vaccines ready to be rolled out. Once our population is effectively vaccinated, we should see our economy move forward. The key in all of these is for us to remain positive and to be resolute in our endeavors. The virus will not go away, we just have to more mindful of what we do and where we go.
The pandemic has, like it or not, forced us to think of new ways to do things. We had to be more creative in crafting new ideas. The digital edge has become the byword today. Survival forced us to reinvent ourselves. Being Filipinos, we have adjusted to the new norm.
My message to you is simply this, in about a year or two, the world will recover. We need to prepare ourselves now. As the Chinese proverb goes, the best time to invest is when there is blood in the streets. Let us renew and reinforce our strong alliances with our friends in the ASEAN and in Japan. Let us push the reset button and explore new avenues of joint cooperation. Now more than ever, we need each other to move forward and conquer the new frontiers that will come due to the emergence of the new digital age. Traditional trade and commerce will return but in a different form. We must study carefully how we can fit in this new way of conducting our affairs.
Survival is the name of the game. The way to survive is to adopt and to change. To achieve this objective, we need to work as a team always. Our collective talents and skills will bring us closer and serve as a lasting testament to all of our organizations.
Let us remain loyal and steadfast to our beloved organizations. Through a unity, we will be able to recover faster and progress more effectively.
The founding fathers created a strong foundation for us to stand on. It is our duty to sustain and nurture this legacy. Now more than ever, let us commit ourselves to grow our organizations in a spirit of optimism and cooperation.
May the Almighty always keep all of us safe and strong!
Francis C. Laurel