MANILA, Philippines - Filipinos from all walks of life are hopeful the incoming New Year will bring blessings, prosperity, and wealth.
A Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey conducted between Nov. 27-30 had 93% saying they were entering 2011 with hope, up from 2009's 89% and just two points off the 95% peak in December 2002.
Those who said they would start the year fearful comprised 7%, down from last year's 11%.
Filipinos' optimism with the coming year has traditionally been high, the SWS said, starting at 87% when the survey research institution started a poll about it in 2000.
The lowest point of 81% was hit in 2004, after which hopefulness rebounded to 85% the following year, stayed flat at 91-92% for the next three years and then fell to 89% last year.
University of Asia and the Pacific economist Cid Terrosa said the hopefulness could be a result of "a new administration, the cultural trait of Filipinos to be optimistic and overseas Filipino workers' remittances."
Ateneo de Manila University political analyst Benito Lim, for his part, said: "It has always been the case."
"Filipinos are hoping that things will be better, maybe because we did not get the good things that we want or we were able to survive our previous problems."
Businessmen optimistic too
Even businessmen feel the same way. Most of them feel the economy will run smoothly in 2011 in the hands of the new government.
“We're bullish for 2011, very high confidence for this administration,” Ed Lacson, president of the Employers’ Confederation of the Philippines, said.
The Makati Business Club (MBC) sees big potential and opportunity in tourism, mining, and the much ballyhooed "public-private partnership" of the government and the business sector for large infrastructure projects.
But not everyone is optimistic. Some businessmen are still worried over the state of the country's power supply.
“Power adequacy needs to be addressed. It’s going to be a big challenge,” said MBC president Ramon del Rosario.
Another issue businessmen want resolved is the apparent “quarrels" within President Benigno Aquino III's Cabinet.
While most trust Aquino’s economic team, they believe internal strife will likely derail any effort at economic progress.
“Manage it so that it doesn’t get in the way of good governance,” Del Rosario said.
Finally, businessmen want Aquino to maintain his high trust ratings with the masses by keeping his word, and stamping out corruption in the government.
'Rally behind quest for right path'
Meanwhile, in his New Year's message, Aquino called on Filipinos to rally behind him in his quest for the 'right path' for the nation.
Aquino said many people believe in the government's call for the "tuwid na landas," like how people rallied behind his campaign during the elections.
However, he said, there are still people who have the intention of sticking with the status quo.
"[Sa] darating na taon, umaasa tayo na mas bibilis ang ating pag-usad. Hindi pa tapos ang laban. Marami pa tayong dapat baguhin. Marami pa rin ang nagnanais na manatili ang katiwalian at maibalik tayo sa kadiliman. Kapag tayo ay sumuko, malalayo tayo sa liwanag na atin nang nasisilayan. Kaya dapat nating mas lalong paigtingin ang ating pakikiisa sa paggawa ng tama," he said.
"Kung patuloy tayong magkakaisa, magiging mas makabuluhan ang mga hakbang na magagawa natin upang sa wakas ay makamtan na natin ang ating mga pangarap."
"Nawa'y ipagpatuloy niyo ang inyong pagkalinga sa ating kapwa, ang inyong pagbabayanihan at ang inyong pakikiisa sa ating pagtahak ng tuwid na landas," he added.
Vice President Jejomar Binay, meanwhile, is calling for more transparency and accountability in government.
In his New Year's message, Binay urged people in government to set aside political partisanship and focus on nation building.
“Our challenge is to build today the foundations of a future where our people live in dignity, where government truly serves the interest of the people, where leaders serve with dedication to the public interest, guided by transparency and accountability,” Binay said.
Binay looks at the year ahead with optimism where government, he said, is dedicated to serve the public's interest. With reports from Ana Mae Roa, BusinessWorld; ANC; and Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News