The year 2022 was filled with controversies, here and abroad. A lot unfolded this closing year: from the 2022 national elections, continuing fight to end the COVID-19 pandemic, human rights violations, allegations of corruption, to a change of leadership in UP.
This year also marked the Marcoses’s return to Malacañang as Ferdinand Marcos Jr. won the presidential election on May 9, over 36 years after his father was ousted by a popular revolt. His running mate, Sara Duterte, the daughter of Marcos’s predecessor, Rodrigo Duterte, also won the vice presidency.
Within UP, the UP Board of Regents selected a new president that will determine the course of the university for the next six years. In the international scene, skirmishes between countries reached a new juncture with the Russian invasion of Ukraine, as well as tensions between the US and China over Taiwan.
In these times of crises, the Filipino people’s resistance has made it through the year and will welcome 2023 with renewed hope and a stronger resolve to the challenges that lie ahead.
The world welcomed 2022 with a record-breaking 300 million positive cases of COVID-19 across the globe. While scaled-back in-person classes were allowed in low-risk areas, the National Capital Region tightened restrictions after cases of highly-infectious Omicron variant spiked. In response, authorities bolstered the vaccination campaign, including allowing second booster doses for qualified populations.
Meanwhile, the National Telecommunications Commission distributed ABS-CBN’s analog frequencies, two years after it was shut down, to Manny Villar’s Advanced Media Broadcasting System, Apollo Quiboloy’s Sonshine Media Network International, and Aliw Broadcasting Corporation.
Russian President Vladimir Putin waged a full-scale war against Ukraine on February 24 that displaced eight million people, the biggest refugee crisis in Europe since World War II. In an hour-long televised message to the nation, Putin denied Ukraine’s right to statehood. Minutes after his speech, military troops on the Russian border invaded Ukraine. The conflict continues to this day as Ukraine is being supplied with military and financial aid by Western countries.
UP Diliman alumni and Lumad school teacher Chad Booc, along with four other civilians, was slain by the military on February 24 in New Bataan, Davao de Oro. The victims were first arrested, brutally murdered by the 10th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army, then, were even dressed to make it seem like they were members of the New People’s Army (NPA), a report from Save Our Schools (SOS) Network revealed.
Then-President Rodrigo Duterte approved laws, one for the benefit of the people and the other for foreign interests. In March, he signed amendments to the Foreign Investments Act which allowed foreign companies to acquire more than 50 percent of vital service sectors such as telecommunications, railways, airports, and expressways.
Duterte inked Republic Act 11648 that raised the age of statutory rape to 16 years old from 12. In a statement, Malacañang said that the law aims to provide better safeguards to minors against rape, sexual exploitation, and abuse.
Despite being referred to as “draconian” by local and international human rights groups, the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 passed the final hurdle as the Supreme Court declared nearly all of its provisions to be constitutional. The high court heard a total of nine oral arguments before it released its full decision on April 26.
Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., son and namesake of the late dictator Marcos Sr., won the presidency after garnering 31 million votes amid an election marred with irregularities and a campaign season notorious for lies and disinformation. His closest rival, former Vice President Leni Robredo, came second with 15 million votes.
Despite his 1997 tax violation conviction, Marcos was allowed to run by the Commission on Elections. Until today, his tax liabilities are unsettled. Meanwhile, only Sen. Risa Hontiveros was the lone opposition candidate to win in the Senatorial elections.
Five members of the UP Diliman community were conferred the National Artist titles on June 10: Late professor emeritus Antonio Mabesa for theater, Gemino Abad for literature, Ricardo Lee for film and broadcast arts, Fides Cuyugan-Asensio for music, and Agnes D. Locsin for dance. In October, Dulaang UP paid tribute to its founder Mabesa who passed away in 2019. UP now has 36 national artists.
The World Health Organization officially declared the monkeypox virus outbreak an international concern on July 23 as daily confirmed cases outside Africa have reached more than 4,000. The first positive case was a British national who exhibited symptoms in London after traveling from Nigeria. Monkeypox is an ongoing outbreak with 83,539 confirmed cases as of December 23.
Sugar Regulatory Commission (SRA) Commissioner Hermenegildo Serafica resigned over the issue of the release of Sugar Order 4 that allowed the importation of 300,000 metric tons of sugar without authorization from the president. This was after the country suffered from a sugar crisis brought by supposedly low output, but the United Sugar Producers Federation claimed that the country’s sugar stocks were being hoarded.
Meanwhile, alternative media publications, such as Bulatlat, and other progressive groups’ websites were blocked under the directive of former national security adviser and Anti-Terrorism Council member Hermogenes Esperon Jr. Bulatlat’s website has since been temporarily unblocked after paying a P100,000 bond.
Tensions between US and China boiled over after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, along with five other US members of Congress, visited Taiwan as part of her Asian tour. She is the first high-ranking US official to visit the island in 25 years. The visit was heavily contested by Beijing who said that the Americans are "playing with fire."
UP has finally welcomed more students to its campuses for in-person classes and activities after two academic years of distance learning after the IATF eased several social gathering restrictions in NCR. UP Diliman held its first in-person freshie welcome assembly and freshman tour since 2019.
Meanwhile, Filipinos commemorated the 50th anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law on September 21. Groups and advocates called on Filipinos to remember the Marcos family’s atrocities and resist the threats to the country’s democracy.
Veteran commentator and broadcaster Percy Lapid was shot on his way home in Las Piñas on October 3. A certain Joel Escorial surrendered to the police two weeks after his murder and tagged three others who were allegedly involved in the killing: brothers Israel and Edmon Dimaculangan and an alias “Orly.” Bureau of Corrections Director-General Gerald Bantag was formally charged with murder for his alleged involvement.
Lapid was known for his program, Lapid Fire, which criticized the administration of former President Rodrigo Duterte, and his successor, Marcos. He died at the age of 63 and left behind his wife and six children. He is the third journalist to be killed in 2022 and the second since Marcos became president.
National Democratic Front consultant Ericson Acosta was slain by the 62nd Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army on November 30 in Kabankalan, Negros Occidental. He was a known writer and musician who won several awards such as the 2015 National Book Award for Best Book of Poetry in Filipino. He served as a literary editor of the Philippine Collegian in the late 1990s. His wife, Kerima Tariman, died last year after an encounter with the military in Negros.
The UP Board of Regents selected private lawyer and former Malacañang regent, Angelo Jimenez, as the 22nd UP president after hours of deliberation, besting five other nominees including UPD Chancellor Fidel Nemenzo, the sole nominee to receive the UP stakeholders’ endorsement. Jimenez will replace outgoing President Danilo Concepcion in February 2023.
Meanwhile, Communist Party of the Philippines founder Jose Maria Sison passed away on December 16 while in exile in the Netherlands. He was 83. Sison developed and applied Marxism-Leninism-Maoism to the country’s conditions, eventually constructing a critique of Philippine society and building the party’s philosophy of national democracy with a socialist perspective. ●
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