AMB. MANUEL M. LOPEZMany want to write 2020 off as the year that never happened. Humanity continues to face the challenge of a mutating coronavirus that has infected over 50 million and killed more than a million worldwide.
In the Philippines, aside from the pandemic, a string of strong typhoons, including the strongest one recorded globally for 2020, hit our shores in the last months of the year, causing untold havoc upon our countrymen. Homes were unroofed, rice fields got flooded, fishing boats were destroyed, and coconut and banana trees necessary for livelihood were uprooted.
As for the Lopez Group, the denial of the franchise application of ABS-CBN forced it to close some of its businesses and retrench close to half of its workforce. The new way of living brought on by the pandemic has led to lower revenues from electricity, real estate, contracts and services and merchandise.
This particular year fraught with adversity has tried our patience, challenged our goodwill and tempted us to despair.
Yet, we muster enough courage to hope for better days.
Our hope is founded on our people, the men and women who make up the Lopez Group, who continue to answer the call of duty and report for work every day from their homes or at their work sites, wherever they are needed.
Our hope is founded on our countrymen, our fellow Filipinos who have time and again shown resilience and the capacity to rise above life’s challenges, with the help of generous kababayan who continually reach out in the spirit of bayanihan.
Our hope is founded on our all-loving God, who teaches mankind invaluable lessons throughout history, to restore the integrity of the natural world, perfect us in our ways and, ultimately, save our souls.
While we wish to believe that the worst is over, we do recognize the risk that things could still get worse before they get better. This does not in any way dim our hope. Rather, it enlightens our vision with reason and prudence.
We are fortunate to still have work to do, roofs over our heads and family within reach. Let us continue to reach out to our kapamilya and kababayan who need our help, especially those who have lost their livelihood or are alone, away from those they love.
In behalf of my wife, Maritess, our children and grandchildren, I wish you all the very best this Christmas. Please stay safe and may the New Year bring bright skies, better days and a more compassionate world. - AMB. MANUEL M. LOPEZ