Brief take on the year 2006

Christmas being just a stone’s throw away from New Year must not just be mere coincidence. Celebrating the anniversary of the birth of Christ should precede the festivities for the birthing of the next year. Besides, it is good to end the year on an upbeat mode, or open the next door in some kind of high. The rituals do complement.

Thus what we have is the longest week of the year. After Christmas, you do not tarry long but start preparing for the New Year. I know of some people who are on leave from Christmas to New Year, the better to attend to the two rituals unhampered. But like many ordinary workers, I need my daily salary so a long vacation is out.

Anyway, in times like this, there’s the temptation to immediately look forward, but for now let me momentarily look back. You do not separate the past, present and future, these being interdependent and part of a process. The past shapes our present, which in turn shapes our future. I will just be skimming the surface, however, of 2006.

The year was not as politically tumultuous as the previous one for a variety of reasons. The turmoil of 2005 apparently sapped the strength of the political opposition, exhausted the issues against President Arroyo and wore down the street protests. That made Malacañang more daring in the early part of the year and cocky in the latter part.

Coincidentally, or was it because of the easing of the political conflict, the economy improved (I am referring to the situation of the country, not to the people’s condition) or at least stabilized. Visible was the strengthening of the peso vis-a-vis the dollar and the subsequent lowering of the prices of petroleum products.

Three major issues hounded Cebuanos in 2006: vigilante-style killings, Sugbuak and the Asean summit. The last two concerned mainly the Provincial Capitol, thrusting Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia into the limelight. A subplot was Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmena picking up another fight, this time with Mandaue City Mayor Thadeo Ouano.

And don’t forget the Filipinos who excelled in the world stage despite government neglect and the antics of our politicians. Boxing and billiards had their banner year (Manny Pacquiao and Efren Reyes, golds at the Asian Games). Three Pinoys conquered Mt. Everest. Filipino-Americans made names in the international music scene.

Of course, this musing is not complete, so you can add your own assessments. In sum, however, let us thank God for a less tumultuous year.

Candido O. Wenceslao (I wrote this for Sun.Star Cebu on December 27, 2006) 

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