Malacañang on New Year’s Eve urged Filipinos to be hopeful in welcoming 2021 after as the “daunting” year 2020 closes.

“We welcome 2021 with renewed hope, courage and inspiration as we bid farewell to 2020 bringing with us its valuable lessons and memories,” Palace spokesman Harry Roque said in a statement.

“The challenges we faced as a nation in 2020 were daunting but because of the resilient Filipino spirit, we fought and carried on,” he added.

Roque said the government’s negotiations and discussions with Covid-19 vaccine manufacturers were ongoing, and the earliest roll out of a vaccine is expected in the first quarter of next year.

“We are indeed on track and this gives us a sense of optimism,” Roque said.

The Palace spokesman also called on the government and citizens to work together “to see an end to the pandemic and continue the pursuit for a stronger and healthier Philippines.”

“Let us therefore make the year 2021 as a year of healing, recovery and bouncing back. Together and united, we will heal and recover as one,” he added.

The Philippines recorded 474,064 Covid-19 cases in 2020 with 9,244 deaths. John Ezekiel J. Hirro