More Filipinos hopeful, optimistic in welcoming New Year

A FAMILY celebrating New Year in the Philippines. Every one is hopeful for a better year despite the pandemic.

By Claire Morales True
MANILA – Amid calamities and pandemic, more Filipinos are hopeful and optimistic for 2022.

 This in gist is what the Social Weather Station (SWS) latest survey showed on the Filipinos’ thoughts for the coming new year amid the pandemic.

The poll was conducted on Dec. 12-16 and the result was 2% higher compared to the same period last year. However, the rate was slightly lower compared to the pre-pandemic year of 2019 from 96% to 93% this year.

The 2021 survey also showed that the rate of Filipinos who expressed fear entering the New Year was unchanged at 7% from 2020.

Earlier on Christmas Day, President Rodrigo Duterte  called on the nation to find strength as the country heals from the onslaught of Typhoon Odette and the lingering COVID-19 pandemic.

“As we commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ with fervent prayer, let us also welcome this occasion with stronger faith and hope, especially as our nation continues to recover from the effects of Typhoon Odette and the COVID-19 pandemic,” Duterte said.

“May we all be united in spreading love, compassion and happiness to our families and friends, and even those whom we need to reach out to,” the President said.

Vice President Leni Robredo, at the same time, urged Filipinos to “hold on tightly to hope” as the Philippines grappled with the coronavirus crisis and destructive Typhoon Odette.

For Robredo, 2022 is the time for “renewed hopes, renewed chances, and renewed strength to face what lies ahead.”

“We look forward to a brighter and more prosperous 2022 because we understand that there is strength to be drawn from each other, and that this strength will always be enough to get us through any challenge that lies ahead,” she said.

Robredo said many Filipinos have just begun trying to starting over from the pandemic’s challenges when Typhoon Odette left a wide trail of devastation late last week.

“There will be those among us who will celebrate Christmas without the presence of their loved ones,” said the Vice President, who visited several typhoon-ravaged areas this week.

In the Vatican, Pope Francis, leading the world’s Roman Catholics into Christmas, said  that people who are indifferent to the poor offend God, urging all to “look beyond all the lights and decorations” and remember the neediest.

Pope Francis, ushering in the ninth Christmas of his pontificate, celebrated a solemn vigil Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica for about 2,000 people, with participation restricted by COVID-19 to about a fifth of the size of pre-pandemic years.

Senator Panfilo Lacson, meanwhile, highlighted in his New Year message his commitment to go after thieves in government, and in the business sector who evade taxes or smuggle goods.

Former senator Ferdinand Bongbong Marcos Jr.  said his New Year’s resolution is to make sure Filipinos will have a better life in 2022.

“The New Year will usher us into a new beginning. A new dream, a new hope. But in the end all of these can only come true if we stand as one,” Marcos said.

Senator Emmanuel Manny Pacquiao called for Bayanihan and to not back down despite a challenging year.

While he also encouraged Filipinos to face the coming year with hope and optimism, Labor leader Leody de Guzman also called for justice and an end to the Duterte administration’s political power.

Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III and Senator Francis Pangilinan reminded Filipinos to remain thankful – especially for the gift of life – and to face the new year with hope and positivity.

The question posed by SWS went “Ang darating na taon ba ay inyong sasalubungin nang may pag-asa o may pangamba?”

Of the 93% Filipinos who expressed optimism, the majority of them expected a happy Christmas and hopeful new year.

The December 2021 survey found that 65% of adult Filipinos expected Christmas to be happy, 8% expected it to be sad, and 22% expected it to be neither happy nor sad.

SWS also stated that hope for the coming New Year has always been higher among those who expected a happy Christmas than those who expected a sad Christmas.

Regions with the highest hope were the National Capital Region (NCR) with a recorded rate of 95%, followed by Balance Luzon at 93%, and the Visayas at 90%. Mindanao stayed at 93%.

Acting Presidential Spokesperson and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles welcomed the result of the survey and said that hope is still in the hands of every Filipino.

“We welcome and note the results of the SWS na marami talaga [ang hopeful sa 2022]. That’s a huge majority of our kababayans looking forward to a better 2022, pero nasa kamay [pa rin] po nating lahat iyan,” Nograles said.

Hope for the New Year survey of SWS started at 87% when SWS first asked the question at the end of 2000. It was patterned after the polls conducted annually by the Institut für Demoskopie Allensbach, pioneer opinion research institute in Europe, since 1991.