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Line of Sight

Head or Tail: Which Side of the Coin? (Part 1)

I HAVE always thought of life as a coin – a small, round piece of metal with two faces. It is already a truism that when you flip a coin, there is always a 50% probability that you would get a “head” and 50% probability that you will get a “tail” – either head or tail and not both, but no other choices either.

When we were younger, we were taught about what is good and what is bad, what should be and what should not be, what is black and what is white, and no in-betweens. We were never warned about the grey areas, the colored parts; that sometimes, it is not always black and white. Later in life, we realize that there is more to this two-faced coin; that we have our own CHOICES, we make DECISIONS, and we have our OPINIONS.

It has been roughly three months now since President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office. Many things had happened ever since and they are all in the news, both local and foreign, good news and bad news alike – from the “big dirty mouth” of Duterte to the government’s war on drugs, from the nationwide implementation of the 911 emergency hotline to the fraying alliance with the United States and other nations, from the Senate probe on “extrajudicial killings” to developments in territorial dispute over South China Sea (or should I say West Philippine Sea?). And how is the Philippines right now? How is the Duterte administration faring so far? How are we Filipinos right now? Answers vary and largely depend on which side of the coin you are looking at.

Result of the recent survey conducted by Social Weather Stations (SWS) for the second quarter of 2016 (no update yet on the 3Q survey which was not yet made public as of this writing) shows that 49% of Filipino adults expect their personal quality of life to improve in the next 12 months (“optimists”) while 3% expect it to get worse (“pessimists”), resulting in a net personal optimism score of +46%, which SWS considered very high, compared to similar surveys over the past 30 years. The survey also found that 60% of Filipinos are optimistic that the general Philippine economy next year would get better while only 4% felt that it would deteriorate.

I am completely drawn into the level of positivity that Filipinos always seem to possess. Most of the time, we face uncertainties with some pinch of hope and yet we can still manage to smile despite the struggles we go through. The improvised explosive device that hit the night market along Roxas Avenue, Davao City on the night of September 2, 2016, has claimed at least 14 lives and injured about 70 others but that was not able to topple down the optimism of Davaoeños. I witnessed how the city was not intimidated by the explosion and the residents were able to resurrect the night market business the following evening. Filipinos are indeed gifted with strong hearts. We see an opportunity in every problem, light in seemingly dark alleys. We are shaken but we never give up.

Similarly, for every milestone our nation faces, for every political and economic turmoil that besets our country, we remain steadfast and we always have something to say. Filipinos are not apathetic. We care to be involved in whatever means we can. We always have an opinion; we always express ourselves and what we are thinking. (Part 2 tomorrow)

Raymond Joey Mamacus is a Manager of Audit & Assurance of P&A Grant Thornton. P&A Grant Thornton is one of the leading Audit, Tax, Advisory, and Outsourcing firm in the Philippines, with 21 Partners and over 700 staff members. It has branches in Cavite, Cebu, and Davao.

As published in Mindanao Times, dated 24 Octobe 2016