THE VIEW FROM RIZAL
“Do you see the light at the end of the tunnel?”
That was the question I got last week from a friend who is now living in the United States.
We had a recent chat over social media and had been comparing notes regarding economic and political developments here and in the US. My friend had lamented what he called the “sloppy” way in which the pandemic was being handled all over the world. I offered the view that there appears to be no government in the world today which has handled the crisis without their share of missteps and failed efforts. After all, we are all new to do this and nobody has the playbook on how to handle the disaster caused by a new, deadly and mysterious disease.
As for the proverbial “light at the end of the tunnel”, I said that the “tunnel’s end” is not yet visible.
“Have we hit the bottom of the economic pit?” my friend asked next.
“If we go by what observers and opinion writers say, then I would say we’re almost there,” I answered.
“But then,” I added, “there is always a bright spot even at the rock-bottom,” I added.
“Explain,” my friend responded. So, explain I did. Here are the highlights of our conversation in the virtual platform.
First, I shared with him recent reports that seem to indicate that there is a prevailing mood of “pessimism” among our countrymen.
I cited the results of a survey done in July this year by the Social Weather Station (SWS) which said that some 40 percent of Filipinos believe that “things can only get worse in the next 12 months” as far as our economy is concerned.
A recent report by the World Bank appear to beef up that view. Based on its Global Economic Prospects, economies will experience their sharpest decline since over a century ago in a COVID 19-induced global recession.
It forecasts that emerging markets and developing economies may show their biggest contraction in over half-a-century. The decline in our economy this year is seen at 1.9 percent.
The economic situation may have triggered the “rock-bottom” and “nose-dive” sensations among many. It is the feeling of a free fall towards a bottomless pit.
I said there is a bright spot even in a situation like this – if one views it from a spiritual perspective.
One such perspective has been presented in a recently-launched book by organizational development expert and international management consultant Dr. Omy Romero, Ph.D. – an alumnus of the Antipolo-based Southeast Asia Interdisciplinary Institute (SAIDI).
In his book titled “The Boat is Sinking: The Power of Rock Bottom”, Dr. Romero inspires readers with his assertion that “the greatest minds in history had their fair share of rock bottom”.
“It is a right of passage. Nothing great ever came out of smooth sailing. These unsavory experiences set the stage for the greatest breakthroughs of your life,” Dr. Romero points out.
He enumerates four pieces of “good news” about this dreaded state. Here is what he says about “rock bottom”:
“It distills the essential. It reveals our ‘nothing’. It opens doors that would not have opened otherwise. It propels us to where we should be.”
“Sometimes, we don’t see it yet, but the worst experiences launch us, propel us to where we should be,” Dr. Romero adds.
Those among us who are now struggling with the “rock bottom” sensation may not appreciate that truth yet. The fact remains that many of our country have already propelled themselves out of rock bottom with their ingenuity, industry and will to survive amid the adversity born out of our battle with the pandemic.
Dr. Romero reminds his readers that “rock bottom is not a tomb, but a womb; not a prison, and more like a cocoon; not rejection, but more like a redirection”.
“It is not a setback but a setup for something greater,” he counsels.
Antipolo City has long adopted that view.
Antipoleños recall that the city had taken what seemed to be a nose-dive towards rock bottom about a decade ago. At that time, some misguided elements in the city’s local government launched a disastrous bid to separate the Pilgrimage Capital of the country from the province named after our National Hero.
That failed bid – flatly rejected by the city’s residents and business community – induced a sluggishness and decline in the economic energy. It set back the timeline for progress that the city’s residents had hoped to achieve.
Antipolo has bounced back since then.
This year, it made it again to the list of finalists in the yearly selection of the country’s Most Business-Friendly City. It has already bagged the top award under that category last year. It is now poised to win back-to-back. It has also already won the coveted recognition as the country’s Most Competitive Component City.
The unfortunate episode in the hands of misguided local personalities a decade ago must have been a painful setback. The city’s community, however, chose to turn it into a “set up” for something greater.
Whether or not Antipolo bags the award for the Most Business-Friendly City for a second time, the city’s community already deserves congratulations. The people of the city have chosen to tap the power of rock bottom.
In the words of Dr. Romero, Antipolo has opted to go “from pit to pinnacle”.
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