16 December 2013
Christmas has always been special to Filipinos as an occasion for families to reflect together on the year that passed and to look ahead to the promise of a better year. Christmas brings out the best in the Filipino as we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ with love and hope.
This year, the Philippines was visited by Typhoon Yolanda (internationally known as Haiyan), the strongest typhoon in recorded history. But while the super-typhoon caused unthinkable devastation to our country, we showed the world our resilience and determination and the Filipino values that are rooted in our deep faith in God: sense of hope and optimism, genuine concern for others, natural instinct to do the right thing and solidarity with family and friends.
The Philippine Embassy in Brasilia has witnessed and continues to witness the overwhelming and inspiring outpouring of support for the typhoon victims from other countries and from Filipinos themselves. I am happy to note that those of you who are in Brazil, Colombia, Guyana and Suriname are also doing you part, in your own ways, to help our Filipino brothers and sisters. This is another reason to be grateful this Christmas season: that people are ready to help each other in times of extreme difficulties and sufferings.
We are also grateful for the achievements of the administration of President Benigno S. Aquino III in 2013. Despite the devastation in the Visayas, we expect to end the year with a GDP growth of at least 7%, still among the highest in the Asian region. The year 2013 also saw our continued climb in our respective rankings in the Corruption Perceptions Index and the Global Competitive Index. As a testament to our sound economic fundamentals, we have finally achieved investment-grade status from the most respected credit rating agencies.
Here in Brasilia, we have also accomplished various projects and undertakings such as high-level visits, bilateral agreements, participation in global conferences and special events and other projects. We have also conducted the 1st Philippines-Brazil Joint Consultation Meeting on Bioenergy Cooperation. As Chair of the ASEAN Committee in Brasilia, we further strengthened the ASEAN-Brazil relations through various activities and initiatives. With your support, these accomplishments encourage us to work doubly hard in putting life to the bilateral agreements and to use our enhanced relations with Brazil, Colombia, Guyana and Suriname to benefit all the concerned citizens.
This Christmas, it is good to remember that God does not promise us that there will be no calamities or problems in our lives. But He promises that He will always be with us, no matter what. Christmas reminds us that Jesus Christ is Emmanuel, God is with us. And with God by our side, we will rise to any obstacle or challenge stronger and wiser.
On behalf of the officers and staff of the Philippine Embassy in Brasilia, I wish you and your loved ones joy, peace and all the blessings this Christmas and always.
Maligayang Pasko at Manigong Bagong Taon!
EVA G. BETITA