Tell it to SunStar: 2019: An unforeseen year in PH history

LOOKING back, the best way I can describe 2019 for the Philippines would be “unpredictable,” as many of the events that occurred throughout the year were uncalled for. Had you sat with a friend on Dec. 31st of last year and recited to him the events that took place this year, he may not have believed you.

A great example would be the 2019 midterm elections, where amidst other usual victors, a great leader and potential presidential candidate for 2022 was discovered in “Yorme” Isko Moreno, mayor of Manila. He quickly gained fame with his political will, evident in his revolutionary road-clearing movement. His performance so far should easily give him a solid case come 2022 and should inspire many leaders to follow suit in their own manner.

Undoubtedly, we have seen a couple of controversies this year, one of the most significant being the issues surrounding the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA). Reports surfaced in August that convicted rapist and murderer Antonio Sanchez could be released despite his seven life terms of 40 years apiece. The Palace, thankfully, dismissed the issue because Sanchez was unqualified to be released. This issue also gave rise to the “ninja cop” scandal, which led to the stepping down of the PNP Chief.

We also saw a bit of outrage on social media during ‘80s rock band U2’s first Philippine concert earlier this month, when pictures of controversial human rights victims were displayed on the big screen. Personally, I see no malice in this action. Bono, being the activist that he is known to be, was merely offering a heartfelt tribute to these individuals, especially given that Human Rights Day took place a day before the concert. What counts to me is the fact that the band warmed the hearts of many classic rock fans, myself included, with its numerous timeless hits.

There have also been a few individuals who have either entertained or irritated us— Pastor Apollo Quiboloy and Raffy Tulfo. No matter how insane their takes or actions may have been, there is no denying that the jokes/“memes” surrounding them on social media have put smiles on our faces. It leads us to wonder whose names will flood our Facebook walls come 2020.

On the bright side, our country has been victorious in the fields of science and sports this year.

We were ranked 54th in the Global Innovation Index. This showcases the creativity and resourcefulness Filipinos are known for.

And for sports, who can forget the recently concluded Southeast Asian Games? I would call that a win for our country—both as hosts and as competitors. As hosts, we still managed to produce stunning opening and closing ceremonies despite the backlash regarding our preparations. And as competitors, our beloved athletes did not let us down, as they led us to finishing with the most medals in the tournament.

As the year 2020 rolls around the horizon, may we Filipinos be more united in reaching our respective goals. May we use our “Bayanihan spirit” to lift up one another to success. May the Lord also bless us with the best of health and safety. I wish everyone a fruitful New Year! (Oscar Tan III)