Christmas Lighting 2021

Good evening to everyone!

Tonight, our hearts are filled with joy and thanksgiving because we get to celebrate this kind of occasion once again almost two years after we closed the doors of the university for the community quarantine.

But of course, allow me to make a reminder that COVID-19 is far from being solved. That's why I’m also requesting everyone to never remove your mask and please maintain enough social distance as we conduct this small celebration that we are doing tonight.

I know that all of you would agree that we miss this kind of event. And I’m personally glad that as we slowly but carefully open our ourselves with gatherings like this, we have been given the honor to hold this celebration with the presence of our very active Chairperson of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) who also serves as our Chairperson in the VSU Board of Regents, none other than Dr. J. Prospero E. De Vera III.

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Almost two years into this pandemic, we are celebrating the victory of science and technology in preventing the further spread of COVID-19 around the world and into our respective communities. We are also delighted that more and more people are trusting our vaccines as our main defense system against this dreaded disease. Here in Baybay City, we are an inch close to reaching the required 70% herd immunity and with the intensified vaccination program by our local government here in our City, we are on track to reaching this target before the year ends.

And yes, for our dear students who are watching this livestream tonight, allow me to tell you that the event that we are doing tonight is a sign that you will soon be able to return to your dear VSU. This is also the main reason why Chair Popoy is here with us this week to assess our readiness for limited face-to-face classes and of course conduct important dialogue with all higher education institutions here in Eastern Visayas for the gradual reopening of our campuses to our dear students.

We are just finalizing the fine print for this plan so that we can ensure your safety and security as we welcome you back here in VSU. Just wait for important updates on this matter because we will make all this information public as soon as everything has been finally put in place. Sa tanang Viscans, kapit lang gyud kay gamay na lang ang inyong paaboton aron makabalik unya mo puhon sa inyong pinalanggang tunghaan.

We are hopeful for gradual reopening next semester but we’re also mindful of the threat of the Omicron variant that’s why please, encourage more people to get vaccinated. Please help our government in educating more people about the safety of vaccines. Ask them to continue to trust in science because it is only through massive vaccination that we will be able to get our lives back to normal.

Now for my Christmas message to the VSU community. Our annual Christmas lighting celebration is a symbol of hope. When we were hit by the strongest typhoon to have hit land that we call Yolanda, we still adorned our campus with Christmas decorations despite all the visible destruction we had in our area. We did that to provide hope to everyone that despite the darkness brought by Yolanda, no one can stop us from remembering the birth of our Lord Jesus.

Eight years later, we are again in a very unstable situation but this time in a different circumstance because we are fighting a threat that we cannot see. But yes, this Christmas lighting that we are doing today is a symbol of our indomitable spirit that despite the uncertainty around us, we will hold on to hope, and to our unceasing faith to our Lord Almighty that He is in control of our current situation, and trusting that everything will be alright very soon.

You see, hope is what keeps us everyday. And hope coupled with unwavering faith is such a powerful combination that will allow us to stand up and weather any kind of storm or tragedy that may come our way.

The Christmas story is the most amazing love story of them all. God sent His Son Jesus Christ into the world so that our sins could be forgiven. That precious child in the stable that we have right here was put to death like a common criminal on a cross of wood. His death, no matter how tragic it sounds, was our hope because He willingly took the sins of the world–yours and mine included–and paid the penalty in our place. In other words, Jesus will always be our source of hope because it is only through Him that we will have everlasting life.

This is the reason why no matter how difficult our circumstances may be right now, we can never let go of remembering the very essence of Christmas. Here in VSU, we will continue with our tradition of celebrating the Yuletide season no matter how challenging the times are.

Our faculty members and staff have contributed a small amount to make this celebration happen. In fact, we are going to share some snacks to everyone who are joining us on this occasion right now as a symbol of our collective desire to help and be there for one another, for it is only through helping each other that we can best express the true meaning of the birth of Jesus Christ.

To our dear students who are watching this live stream right now, I encourage you to propagate kindness that we have all tried to embody here in VSU. I’m hopeful that more than the colorful adornments that we do each year, you will more importantly take note of the values we carry on why we do celebrations like this every year.

We in the VSU community are wishing everyone a meaningful Christmas celebration in the days to come. Hopefully next year, we can do this celebration once again with our dear students joining us in this annual gathering.

Mabuhay ang VSU community at isang mapagpalang gabi para sa ating lahat!

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