2016 is now part of our yesterday. Time to say hello then to 2017 with all its promises and challenges and to give our best wishes for a happy and prosperous NEW YEAR to all our readers. Today is the first day of another year in our life so I wish that this Year 2017 will usher us to a new hope of a happier life filled with more blessings and a renewed strength to overcome all the challenges that may come our way. The experienceS of 2016 have taught us many lessons that could make the challenges that may confront us this year like a trip in the park when properly appreciated and applied.

Last year we elected a new President in the person of Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte of Davao City. Never did we expect that he would be nothing like any Presidents we had before. He is one who can double talk without meaning to harm anyone except his or her old fashioned and traditional view of what is right and proper. He has taught us that curse words are nothing but curse words and should not be taken seriously. So far his political will has no comparison to any leader we have had in the past and may be in the future.

We saw this in his war against illegal drugs and corruption. He taught us that his more than 40 years in government and politics is more than enough to trust only his views and his instincts. His reaction to critics of his war against illegal drugs, especially on perceived extra judicial killings, has taught us that negative criticism will not affect his decision and course of action on matters where he has given his imprimatur.

So will Pres. Duterte be a challenge to overcome in 2017? Not by any measure if we look at his satisfaction rating. He will be a challenge to understand and support if we want this country to leap ahead sans traditional politics.

Despite the campaign promise of President Duterte when he was running for President that he would eliminate illegal drugs in three to six months upon assumption as President, the problem will remain as the No. 1 challenge in 2017. This is because the extent of the problem was not fully appreciated until the war was launched. Citing Bohol as an example alone, the Police never reported in the peace and order council’s meeting that of the 1,109 barangays of the Province only 23 have remained “pure.” When you add to that the involvement of some police officers and civil government officials either as protectors or drug lords themselves, the problem is almost insurmountable.

Another challenge to us as a people in 2017 is the issue and problem of climate change. Under that is environmental degradation and solid waste management and disposal. We may not be the biggest climate change contributor in the world as we are only No. 86 in the field of 131 but the problem is here, real and is getting worse. We don’t even have to think of the world anymore. Just thinking of the future of the Philippines as far as climate change problem is concerned should already be enough for everyone to think of how he or she can get involved. (If you want to know who the biggest contributors of climate change are, here they are: China is No. 28, Japan is No. 14, Australia is No. 5, United States of America is No. 4, Saudi Arabia is No. 3, United Arab Emirates is No. 2, and Kuwait is No. 1).

The responsibility of addressing the problem on environmental degradation is one that should be the concern of everyone and not just left to the care and responsibility of one agency or department of government like the DENR. It is high time that the partnership of DENR and other government agencies, especially the local government units should be strengthened. It is high time that the problem and issue of waste management and disposal and the laws and regulations that govern them be brought to the purok levels of barangays. We will be happy to help in the conceptualization of how to do this.

On the household, family and individual levels, the above challenges can be more than enough to occupy the whole of 2017. Unless everyone can resolve to do something to help, any effort will come to nothing.

So there you are. I have given you areas for your New Year’s Resolutions. HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!!!


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