News and Events

Make 2008 A Truly Happy New Year

by former President Fidel V. Ramos
29 December 2007 (for the 01 January 2008-New Year's Day issue)





          "I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them; I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, so that they may follow my statutes and keep my ordinances and obey them.  Then they shall be my people, and I will be their God.  But as for those whose heart goes after their detestable things and their abominations, I will bring their deeds upon their own heads," says the Lord God.  (Ezekiel 11:19-21). 

For most Filipinos, the three weeks between the middle of December and the first week of January is a period of joyful celebrations and family gatherings -- topped by the spirit of thanksgiving at Christmastime and renewal of purpose at the beginning of the New Year.  This is the way it should be, following our cherished traditions.  "Peace on Earth and Goodwill to All!" is the overall mood that pervades our holiday season -- highlighted by gift-giving, exchange of greetings, reunions, and parties.  Ultimately, on New Year's Day this should also mean a personal resolution to "turn over a new leaf" to improve one's self, and a collective commitment to upgrade/uplift the life of the community and nation. 

One wonders, however, how come the feel-good atmosphere and religious mood cannot extend to the full 365 days of the year?   For the greater part of 2008, the expectation of most is that divisive politics and personal interests will continue to prevail over the national scene and in our communities, and soon enough Filipinos will revert back to their usual quarrelsome selves.  Can we not make it a truly Happy 2008 New Year for most of us, particularly for those that are disadvantaged, isolated, marginalized, and perennially poor?  

God's exhortation from the book of Ezekiel above-cited is about the "heart of stone" of those who cannot follow His statutes, keep His ordinances, and obey them...  and, as for those whose heart goes after their detestable things and their abominations (selfish, greedy, corrupt habits), the Lord God will bring their deeds upon their heads (punish them).  Is this message not addressed clearly to our elected leaders...  who must heed the summons of our people for better governance leading to a better quality of life?   Indeed, our leaders are called upon to renew themselves with a heart of flesh and a new spirit.  On the other hand, citizens are exhorted "to add to your faith, virtue; to virtue, knowledge; to knowledge, self-control; to self-control, perseverance;...  "  (2 Peter 1:5-7). 

Let us make 2008 a Truly Happy New Year for All!

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