Batuhan: A good 2013 and an even better 2014

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By Allan S. B. Batuhan

Foreign Exchange

Sunday, December 29, 2013

YEAREND is usually when people reminisce about the year that was, and prognosticate about the year to be. With 2013 drawing to a close, and 2014 just around the corner, surely many will be in that looking back, looking forward mode again. So with our yearend glasses on, what were the high points of the year just passed? And what do we think 2014 is likely to bring?
This year started very brightly, on many fronts.

Sports, for one, held out so much promise for the Philippines. After an absence from the world stage for almost as long as I can remember, our men’s basketball team is back once more, competing for glory at the very highest level. Vertically-challenged by the teams from neighboring nations, the Gilas Pilipinas hoopsters showed everyone how heart and spirit can compensate for height and might, when we beat all but the strongest of them all -- the Iranian national team -- as we qualified in style for the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain.

Our athletes in the other newly-emerging sports shone brightly as well.

As the new kids on the block in the highest echelons of Asian Rugby Union, our men’s team, the Philippine Volcanoes, retained its place in the Asian 5 Nations by beating the experienced contingent from the United Arab Emirates, in a grueling and tough contest at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum.

And their close cousins-in-sport, the Philippine men’s Rugby Sevens national team went all the way to the sport’s World Cup in Las Vegas, and although beaten by the much stronger competition, has now gained a tremendous foothold among the sport’s elite.

While sports was generally on the up, politics was generally – well – quiet. And when it is quiet on the politics front, that usually means good news. After the turmoil of the Corona trial in 2012, it finally seemed like the country was free from the scourge of corrupt politicians, and rotten political institutions. And for a good part of the
year, it seemed like it was actually going to stay that way.

Things took a turn for the worse towards the end of the year when calamities hit, both of the natural and the man-made kind. First, the biggest corruption ever uncovered rocked our world once more, with Janet Napoles’ schemes and scams uncovering a web of corruption in the legislature.

And then, Yolanda struck, turning Eastern Visayas into one giant calamity area.

Despite the yearend setbacks, I would still say that 2013 has been a good year for the country. The positives were evident, and even the negatives had something good for us to take away. Yolanda showed the character of our people, and the resiliency of our nation. And though the Napoles scandal is a huge blight on the political landscape, at least it tells us that we cannot take our political affairs for granted anymore, and whatever political scenario we desire, we must vote into office.

And what of 2014? Well, if we learned anything from the lessons of 2013, there are plenty of positives to look forward to next year. A more resilient nation willing to lend a hand to its least and last. And a more educated electorate never again to be fooled by political charlatans and snake oil sales men. And that is plenty for me to look forward to.

Wishing all our readers a very prosperous New Year!


Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 30, 2013.


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