Resolutions for a nation’s new year

ariel nepomuceno_1EVERY time January comes, not only do we look forward to the media noche feast or the fun of watching the glittering fireworks that color our skies. It is also a time for self reflection, a review of the year that has gone by, and, more important, an opportunity to identify aspirations; map out future plans; and commit to make positive changes in our lives.

On a national level, beginning the new year with the most important resolutions in order to improve the lives of our citizens would undoubtedly be a noteworthy and urgent exercise. After all, goal setting is a first step to getting things done.

We started 2015 with the very successful and life-changing visit of Pope Francis, who captured our hearts and made the Filipino people realize that the strength of its faith can power the nation. As we journeyed through 2015, there were some wins and some losses. The challenges were daunting, the gains were admirable, but we all know that we could do more. And doing more is what our country should aim for in 2016.

10 national resolutions

Let me attempt to enumerate what our country must achieve for the coming year.

1. Ensure the conduct of a free, honest and orderly 2016 election as this is the very foundation and expression of our democracy;

2. Install leaders who have proven track record of competence, capability, integrity and authenticity;

3. Stimulate economic growth by taking steps to create a competitive, fair and transparent environment for investors and entrepreneurs by further developing and embedding key legislative, fiscal and monetary reforms;

4. Execute and implement the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation goals of: a) science and technology education and job skills upgrade; b) risk reduction/management and resilient infrastructure; c) the removal of barriers to the entry and growth of small and medium enterprises; and d) free and open trade and investment for the region;

5. Address and take firm action on problems of terrorism, insurgency, crime and lawlessness;

6. Stop graft and corruption and develop ethical and honest civil servants;

7. Encourage, promote and institutionalize the Rule of Law by supporting and empowering initiatives aimed at enshrining contract stability, protection of property rights, an independent and efficient judicial system, and strong enforcement of laws and regulations;

8. Establishment of an integrated urban mass-transit network, efficient infrastructure and improvement in traffic-management activities;

9. Sustained focus on protecting our national territory by utilizing the twin remedies of diplomacy and exercise of legal rights under applicable international treaties and conventions;

10. Take concrete steps toward the ratification of the 2015 Paris climate-change accord and integrating the same into local energy plans
and goals.

List is long

WE can go on and on, but being true to the concept of new year’s resolutions, we must focus on the most critical ones, those that would produce substantial results and make a real difference in our people’s lives. Listing these resolutions is obviously not the end. It must be supplemented by a clear, measurable and time-bound action plan. Progress should be monitored by the key agencies tasked with achieving the above-mentioned goals and efforts rewarded to inspire, motivate and empower our civil service.

Even in governance, nothing is impossible when you begin with a dream, a vision and purposive action.

We began with Pope Francis in 2015 and, perhaps, we should end with some of his thoughts on being happy. Our Holy Father said: “Happiness is not about having a perfect life, but about using tears to water tolerance, losses to refine patience, failures to carve serenity, pain to lapidate pleasure and obstacles to open the windows of intelligence.” 2016 may not be easy, but we have to start somewhere to believe the dream. Thus, these resolutions.

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