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A year of promise ends mostly in disappointment

HONG KONG (SE): Last year began with a bright spot in the Philippine world, as the nation geared itself up for the much-awaited visit of Pope Francis to the shores of the Pearl of the Orient Seas.

Nevertheless, some dark spots did fall across the horizon, as one year on, the survivors of Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) were discovering that the rehabilitation of their devastated homes, cities and farmlands was being treated by many more as a business opportunity than a response to a tragedy.

But in mid-January, Pope Francis did arrive in Manila and although the vast crowds that turned out to greet him mostly went home soaked to the skin, his message of mercy for the suffering was welcomed like a balm for pain to the ears of the suffering masses.

Almost appropriately, his voyage to Tacloban was interrupted by a brewing typhoon and, although cut short, locals turned out to paint the town white in welcome for their most august visitor, who was described as a ray of hope shining in the darkness.

Filipino migrant workers in Hong Kong, buoyed by the pope’s Peace Message for the New Year, in which he stated that tying work visas to residency is slavery, turned out as well to urge him to remember them in his messages to government personnel.


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