The year 2020 was truly a very challenging one for the Filipino people. We were waging battles on multiple fronts: the health, economic and peace fronts.

The health crisis altered practically all aspects of our way of life – the way we work, the manner we interact with people, and the methods we use in doing business, among others.
But Filipinos are known for their patience, determination, and strength of character. As a people, we have gone through a lot and have learned to adapt to the most difficult of situations.
In order for us to survive and move forward, we had to undergo the process of adaptation. We had to let go of our old habits and adapt new systems, approaches and a new way of doing things until the pandemic is over.
Work from home has now become the norm for many organizations; virtual teleconferencing has given way to face-to-face meetings; and food take-out and delivery has replaced dine-in.
In the health front, the wearing of face masks and face shields, regular disinfecting and hand washing and social distancing have become part of our daily routine.
The government, in collaboration with LGUs and the private sector, was able to scale up the nation’s COVID-19 testing, contact, tracing and isolation capacities.
All sectors are working together as we gear up to implement the national vaccination program in order for our nation to achieve a greater sense of normalcy and jumpstart economic recovery.
And in our work for peace, technology has enabled us to hold meetings, peace conversations and multi-stakeholder forums even though we are different side of the archipelago.
Despite the limitations brought by the pandemic, our office was able to push forward the comprehensive Philippine peace process with the help of our local and international partners.
We believe that this is what happens when we come together and use the power of unity, complementation and cooperation to protect the health, security and welfare of our countrymen.
As we welcome the new year, let us look back and learn from the lessons of 2020. It was the year that tested our mettle as a people. But we stood tall and remained resilient.
This will be our clarion call for 2021. Together we shall heal, recover and build back better as one people and one nation.
Happy New Year to all!