12 January 2015

Palace hosts New Year’s Vin d’Honneur
President Benigno S. Aquino III on Monday morning led the New Year’s Vin d’Honneur for the year 2015 at the Rizal Hall of Malacañang Palace.

In his message, President Aquino recalled the challenges the world faced in 2014 — the tensions in the West brought about by problems in Ukraine; the erratic weather patterns due to global climate change; the threat of pandemics such as the MERS-Corona Virus and Ebola; the acts of violence in Pakistan, Australia, Canada, and most recently in France – and how countries responded to them.

“Instead of being daunted or wallowing in fear, we have chosen to hope. Instead of being divided by hatred, we have chosen to stand together and link arms, in order to alleviate the suffering and despair of others,” he said.

The Chief Executive took the opportunity to thank the international community for the assistance it has provided to help the victims of Typhoons Yolanda (Haiyan) and Ruby (Hagupit).

“I will never forget how the global community has come together to fight climate change, including the example of His Holiness Pope Francis, who is expected to issue an encyclical on climate change and the imperative for all of humanity to take action,” he added.

He noted that in facing the world’s problems, “it has become clear that we can no longer look at complex issues and situations with a parochial mindset.”

“Whether in combating climate change and its effects, or in fighting inequality, or in taking a stand against terrorism and instability: the time to act is now,” the President said.

“We can work together: each person and each country doing its part to collectively solve all these issues. Or we can think only of ourselves, thereby allowing these challenges to grow more convoluted, and more insurmountable until we are all consumed by them.”

For his part, Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, Archbishop Guiseppe Pinto, acknowledged the government’s commitment to restore a dignified life to the people affected by calamities, as well as its efforts to implement the Comprehensive Peace Agreement on the Bangsamoro, signed in March last year.

He also noted the “extraordinary events” that are scheduled to happen in the Philippines this year — the Apostolic visit of Pope Francis and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum (APEC) 2015.

In his toast, Archbishop Pinto wished for peace and greater prosperity for the Filipino people.

“The Diplomatic Corps conveys its fervent wishes to see the fruits of (the government’s) labors for the benefit of their fellow citizens,” he said. PND (ag)