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2021 in Powerful Quotes: From 'As a Friend' to 'Winarak Ninyo Kami'

Newsmakers on the record.
by Erwin Colcol
Dec 29, 2021

Words are powerful. Spoken on record, they send Twitter buzzing for days, spawn a chain of headlines and awaken the Marites in each and everyone of us. Quotes are receipts that they were said.

The second year of the pandemic saw a wealth of unforgettable soundbites from President Rodrigo Duterte's witching hour musings, to Ely Buendia on what it means to be workmates and friends, to a teen debater Raul Contreras from the 1950s speaking about the world's ills that are still true today.

Here are the on-record statements that defined the news in 2021:

Hindi talaga essential si lugaw. Pero kung sinasabi niya essential ang lugaw, ‘yun tama ‘yun.” - DILG USec. Epimaco Densing

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As stricter COVID-19 protocols were reimposed in March this year, DILG USec. Epimaco Densing drew flak for apparently politicizing the delivery of essential goods and services to Filipinos under lockdown, saying that “si lugaw” was non-essential.

“Lugaw” has been used as a pejorative against Vice President Leni Robredo. She has since embraced the term and even fed her supporters with lugaw during her campaign sorties as a presidential aspirant.

“When a person loses track of the dignity of the human soul and begins to judge others not on the basis of their being persons but on the basis of race, creed, economic status, that is prejudice.”    - Raul Contreras

YouTube/Archive MC
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These sharp words on racism and prejudice from Raul Contreras, a Filipino boy who participated in an international debate in the 1950s when he was just 15 years old, resonated so well with the public that his video went viral on social media in April.

P*****ina, papel lang yan, itatapon ko yan sa waste basket.” - President Rodrigo Duterte

Presidential Photo
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Just as tensions between the Philippines and China flared up again earlier this year, President Rodrigo Duterte in May likened the country’s arbitration win over territories in the West Philippine Sea as a mere “piece of paper.”

The President’s comments on the West Philippine Sea issue would eventually strain relartions between him and Sen. Manny Pacquiao, leading to a word war and a split in the administration party PDP-Laban.

“We were never friends.” / “Kapag tumakbo si Leni.” - Ely Buendia
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Let's take Ely Buendia's podcast interview into context, when he said the Eraserheads members were never really friends, he did so in the context of fans guilt-tripping them with their hit, "Minsan", which he said makes him cringe.

Four months later, he went viral again for saying that Eraserheads could reunite if Vice President Leni Robredo ran for president in the 2022 elections.

Sana may sumunod sa amin. Na hindi kami ang last na Filipina na mananalo sa Olympics. Sana marami pa, sana may sumunod pa.” - Hidilyn Diaz

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Filipina weighlifter Hidilyn Diaz broke glass ceilings in July when she won the first Olympic gold medal for the Philippines at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

She hoped that more Filipino athletes would bring pride to the country at the Olympics, apart from her fellow medalists Nesthy Petecio, Carlo Paalam, and Eumir Marcial.

Winarak na ninyo kami eh. Winarak na ninyo ang dangal ng DOH.” - DOH Sec. Francisco Duque III

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Health Sec. Francisco Duque III turned emotional as he defended his agency from audit observations that it mismanaged funds for the government’s COVID-19 response. His defense spawned a number of memes and caused netizens to accuse him of being a “sad boi.”

“She went [to Baguio] as a friend.” - Paolo Contis

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Actor Paolo Contis became a talk of the town in September when he was seen with “A Faraway Land” co-star Yen Santos in Baguio City after he broke up with LJ Reyes. Contis said Santos was only with him in Baguio “as a friend,” but the whole incident only proved the fascination of Filipinos in celebrity breakups and birthed the so-called “Marites” persona.

“Thirty years of blah, blah, blah.” - Greta Thunberg

Flavio Lo Scalzo, Reuters
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Environmental activist Greta Thunberg couldn’t hide her frustration when she spoke at a pre-COP26 event in September as she urged world leaders to act more decisively on climate

The COP26 Summit in Glasgow, United Kingdom took place three decades after the 1992 Rio Summit in Brazil where world leaders pledged to tackle environment problems.

Lalaban ako. Lalaban tayo.” - Vice President Leni Robredo

Maria Tan, Agence France-Presse
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After months of decision-making, Vice President Leni Robredo announced in October that she would seek the presidency in the 2022 elections. Her words, along with #LabanLeni and #LetLeniLead trended on Twitter and started the #Kakapink movement on social media.

“Do I look like a mockery to you?” - Sen. Ronald Dela Rosa

Jerome Ascano
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Duterte’s former top cop Sen. Ronald Dela Rosa fired back at journalists for questioning his intention to run for president in the 2022 polls. Initially willing to be substituted by Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, Dela Rosa eventually backed out of the presidential race as the official bets of administration and opposition parties became clearer.


2021 in News Headlines: Marites is Born in Squid Game Year for Vaccines, Votes

Yearender 2021: How to Put Mental Health, Self-Care First

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