By Anna Leah Gonzales

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. (PNA photo by Joan Bondoc)

MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. enjoined Filipinos to embody the spirit of solidarity and contribute to development as he joins the nation in welcoming the new year.

Marcos said every new beginning is a time for reflection on past accomplishments, to move forward with the lessons learned, and to reinforce on the unity forged as a people.

“As a nation, we bid farewell to the challenges and triumphs of the past year and embrace a new dawn of opportunity and hope that heralds another fresh start for all,” the President said in his message released Sunday.

“As we welcome 2024 with great optimism, I call upon every Filipino from every corner of the world to contribute to the future of our beloved motherland. Let us embody the spirit of solidarity through acts of kindness, volunteerism, and compassion, knowing that each of us is a catalyst for our country’s meaningful social transformation.”

President Marcos also committed to “strengthen bonds and charter a new roadmap for tomorrow.”

“Let the dream of a revitalized Philippines — a Bagong Pilipinas (New Philippines) — guide our every endeavor as we bring forth peace, progress, and prosperity for all,” Marcos said.

‘Renewed optimism’

Meanwhile, House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez urged Filipinos to approach 2024 with “a sense of renewed optimism and purpose.”

“The challenges ahead are opportunities for us to innovate, collaborate, and build a nation that echoes the dreams and aspirations of every Filipino. Together, let’s continue to work towards a legislative agenda that responds to the pressing needs of our times,” he said in a statement.

He said the transformative journey the Filipinos have embarked upon in 2023 has been a milestone and a testament to everyone’s shared dedication to progress, unity and service.

“The achievements we have realized together are indeed remarkable. The commitment and hard work of each of you, as members of our community, have been pivotal in the passage of critical bills, measures, and resolutions addressing the varied needs of our nation,” he said.

The people’s unwavering efforts, he said, have not only shaped policy but also strengthened democracy in the country.

“I am optimistic about a more prosperous future for our nation under the leadership of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr. His vision complements our collective desire for progress, and I believe that together, we will enter an era of growth, stability, and mutual success,” he said.

Marikina 2nd District Rep. Stella Quimbo said 2023 is a year of “economic challenges and steady progress” for the Philippines but changes must be made.

“As our economy moves forward in 2024 and beyond, there is a growing consensus that reforms are needed in various areas to improve the state of our nation and to uplift the lives of the Filipino people,” she said.

‘Steady progres’

For her part, Marikina 2nd District Rep. Stella Luz Quimbo said the Philippines in 2023 is generally seen as a “year of economic challenges and steady progress “.

“As our economy moves forward in 2024 and beyond, there is a growing consensus that reforms are needed in various areas to improve the state of our nation and to uplift the lives of the Filipino people,” she said.

She underscored the consensus that some important economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines should be liberalized.

“Amending our Charter, however, must go hand in hand with addressing other critical issues,” she said. “The bottom line is we need to send a certain and predictable signal to the global investor community: the Philippines is ready, able, and willing to accept foreign direct investments.”

Towards a secure PH

Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Gilberto C. Teodoro Jr., meanwhile, called on Filipinos to support the agency’s initiatives in protecting the country’s security and stability.

“The DND joins our people in welcoming the New Year. We thank our President, our stakeholders, and our people for the trust and confidence in our institution. We call upon the same outpouring of support in the coming year so that we can help build a stable, secure, and solid Philippines,” Teodoro said in his New Year message.

Office of Civil Defense (OCD) administrator, Undersecretary Ariel F. Nepomuceno also appealed to the public to help the agency in creating a more resilient nation.

“As we welcome the New Year, let us carry the spirit of resilience and unity with us. Let us work together to build a safer and more prepared nation. May 2024 bring hope, prosperity, and peace to every Filipino,” he added. (with a report from Zaldy De Layola and Priam Nepomuceno/PND/PNA)