MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday welcomed 2021 with hope, and said the indomitable spirit of Filipinos would lead to better days despite the pandemic.
In his New Year’s message, the chief executive said the fresh year serves as another opportunity to be wiser, stronger, and prepared for new challenges.
“Today is a joyful day, a time for new beginnings and a time to be hopeful. We ended the previous year with so much difficulties and trials, but with much gratitude,” he said in a statement.
Duterte also believes in the strong Filipino spirit, which he said was the reason why the nation defied difficulties last year.
"[W]e endured everything — sustained by our distinct resilience as a people... I am confident that all of us will see brighter days ahead because we believe in the indomitable spirit of the Filipino."
He also emphasized the importance of Filipino unity, and how much the country learned from the pandemic.
"The COVID-19 pandemic may have cost us so many lives and material resources, but we also learned so much from it. We realized the value of human life and our relationships with each other,” Duterte said.
“We understood what it means to be a family, a community, a nation. We learned to share and to look after the welfare of our brethren,” he added.
Millions of Filipinos have lost their jobs as COVID-19 restrictions crippled the economy and shuttered businesses.
Aside from local workers, many overseas Filipinos lost their jobs and were repatriated due to COVID-19.
A survey by pollster Social Weather Stations in September showed that an estimated 7.6 million households experienced hunger during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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