by Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol

Chairman, Mindanao Development Authority

Like scarred warriors, we come out of a difficult battle in our lives surviving an unseen and mysterious enemy which virtually paralyzed the whole world and ruined nations' economy.

We are now stronger and wiser having learned very important lessons both in our personal lives and in governance.

The Pandemic reminded us to take care of our bodies and to lead clean and healthy lifestyle.

"Survival of the fittest" is the apt description of what we went through as those described as "immuno-compromised" proved to be the most vulnerable while the healthy showed resilience.

The Pandemic also shattered many economic and governance policies as it showed how wrong we were on relying on our neighbors for our food supplies and other essential needs.

The concept of inter-dependence in a virtual Global Community was proven to be a farce as the Pandemic divided nations into small tribal villages whose main concern was to ensure their own survival.

The greatest lesson taught here is to establish food security through community food sufficiency programs or simply "Let us grow our own food.”

As the search for remedies and cure became a global effort, our nation which has produced some of the brightest people relied mainly on what other countries could discover and offer.

We ignored and even ridiculed anecdotal accounts of the efficacy of local remedies to strengthen the immune system against the virus.

The Pandemic showed how weak our health programs are and how we have abandoned medical researches in favor of dependence on foreign medical supplies.

The lesson here is the need for more support for medical researches to produce remedies and cure to afflictions and diseases based on our climate and environment.

Most of all, the long period of trials stressed the need for coherent governance as people were befuddled and confused by the many guidelines and protocols issued by every Tom, Dick and Harry in government.

All these are very important and valuable lessons we have to embrace as we face a new year, 2021.

To all those who lost loved ones during the year, I extend my deepest and sincerest sympathies.

Those of us who survived the year should take time to thank God for the blessing and protection.

We come out stronger from this period of trials and tribulation.

With lessons learned and scars to remind us, let us face the New Year with courage and hope.

We survived 2020. We will prevail in 2021 and beyond.

Happy New Year and may God bless us all!

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