"There remain many avenues for cooperation."
President Duterte’s last State of the Nation Address comes at a challenging time. We are at crossroads, still figuring out how best to get out of the pandemic amid hampered vaccine supply and the emergence of new variants. We are also still making our way out of the economic crisis caused by more than a year of lockdown. With less than a year left in his administration, the President has his work cut out for him.
Then again, the state of the nation is precisely that —not the state of one person alone. We find the distinction necessary lest we get lost in the often loud and vicious politics, forgetting that for a nation to function, there must be cooperation between the government and the private sector, with the active and informed involvement of the citizenry.
During the pandemic we have witnessed the need for various units to work together in their respective spheres. No single entity or agency can do wonders on its own. Inadequacies in certain sectors or areas were addressed not by heroes with extraordinary powers but by ordinary individuals and organizations with an extraordinary desire to help.
To be sure, the future remains murky with so many extraneous variables that frustrate all kinds of scenario planning. The current environment is also colored by posturing for the elections in May. But there remain many avenues for cooperation, and we should all find these opportunities instead of focusing on intrigue and infighting that ultimately do our country no good.
For now, we should listen to the meat of the President’s remarks and take a cue as to what we should work on, what we should ignore, and most especially where we can work together despite differences and how we can sustain the spirit of bayanihan during this difficult period.