(KING RODRIGUEZ/ Malacañang Photo Bureau)

President Rodrigo Duterte and Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo, in separate New Year’s Day messages, urged Filipinos to be hopeful for “brighter days” in 2021.

Duterte said Jan. 1 is a “joyful day, a time for new beginnings and a time to be hopeful” after the country moved on from 2020, which was filled with “much difficulties and trials.”

“Now, we march on to a new year wiser, stronger and more prepared for the challenges ahead. We are given another chance to serve our people, and for us in the government, this is another opportunity to render public service with genuine compassion and malasakit,” the president said.

Duterte added that the Covid-19 pandemic, which headlined 2020 as it inflicted millions worldwide, provided Filipinos with an opportunity to reflect.

“The Covid-19 pandemic may have cost us so many lives and material resources, but we also learned so much from it. We realized the value of human life and our relationships with each other. We understood what it means to be a family, a community, a nation. We learned to share and look after the welfare of our brethren,” Duterte said.

“This New Year 2021, let us be mindful of the blessings we have received and on how fortunate we are. Let our grateful hearts guide and inspire us to always do good and make a difference in the world. I am confident that all of us will see brighter days ahead because we believe in the indomitable spirit of the Filipino,” Duterte continued.

Robredo also said that the first day of the first month of the new year was a reminder of new beginnings.

“Laging may pagkakataong bumangon; lagi tayong tinatawag ng bukas sa pag-asang kaya natin itong gawing mas maginhawa, mas masagana, mas makatao kaysa sa kahapon,” she said in a statement.

“Hiling ko ang pag-asang ito para sa bawat pamilyang Pilipino: Nawa’y mapuno ng pag-asa ang inyong mga tahanan. Sa darating na taon, pag-asa ang pairalin natin sa ating araw-araw na pamumuhay, at pag-asa ang ibahagi natin sa kapwa, lalo na para sa mga nasa laylayan ng lipunan,” Robredo added.

The vice president said she hoped Filipinos would be more united in the new year.

“Gaya ng paulit-ulit na nating pinatunayan sa mga nagdaang taon: Walang Pilipinong nag-iisa. At dahil nasa isa’t isa ang ating lakas, nandito pa rin tayol hindi tayo kinayang pasukuin ng 2020. Lalo pa sana tayong magbigkis upang salubungin ang 2021 nang sama-sama, tulong-tulong at ng may ibayong pagkasabik para sa kinabukasang papandayin natin bilang nagkakaisang bansang Pilipinas,” Robredo said. John Ezekiel J. Hirro