By ARTHUR L. ALLAD-IW
Pretty, our four year old Maltese dog, developed a phobia from the firecracker blasts. And it seems she would again be in for another torture caused by firecracker blasts come Christmas 2013 and New Year 2014. That is if the ban on the sale and use of firecrackers will not be realized in our city.
Pretty has already undergone torture from four Christmas and four New Year’s celebrations. Everytime that the firecracker blasts are at its high, our dog stays inside the house, running from one room to another due to her fear. We pity the dog everytime that the environment is like being carpet bombed, the deafening sounds.
This past Christmas, most residents welcomed the City mayor’s decision to ban the sale and use of firecrackers in the Christmas and New Year revelry. But to the dismay of many of my neighbors, the ban was a failure. A local paper cited health authorities that there were more casualties this 2013 new year’s celebration than that of last year.
The mayor said, as quoted by the local paper, an ordinance is needed to give teeth to his Administrative Order which banned the sale of firecrackers. Tsk tsk tsk. Another scapegoat. As if an enacted ordinance would be the answer to really ban the use and sale of firecrackers. And my friends laugh out loud at the mayor’s words.
It was timely that our hardworking Bocap in Guisad and Beneco Director Ferdy Bayasen posted on the Facebook an article written by our fellow journalist Carolyn O. Arguillas. Arguilas article is entitled: “In Davao City, children don’t know the sound of firecracker blasts.” The story presented how then Mayor Rodrigo Duterte (now Vice-mayor) banned the use and sale of firecrackers and other pyrotechnics in that city. The ban started in the Christmas of 2001 and the New Year celebrations in 2002. He did not issue business permits to the sale of firecracker stuffs. He was only armed with his political will and the ban is a success.
The Davao City Council adopted Ordinance 060-02 in October 15, 2002 and signed by Mayor Duterte in November that same year to institutionalize the ban. For 12 Christmases and New Years’, the ban on firecrackers was very effective in that city.
With the ban, there were no firecracker casualties – no deaths and injuries. Unlike the hospital staff in other parts of the country where there is no firecracker ban, most hospital staff members in Davao City can join their families in the revelry.
The culture of blasting firecrackers to welcome the New Year was changed into joint family and community banging pans, drums, bells and singing songs, the story added. Theirs was a real “Silent Night, Holy Night!”
In the story, residents of Davao City urged fellow Filipinos to learn from their experience. That a stop to blasting firecrackers to welcome the Christmas or New Year can eliminate death and injuries caused by firecrackers; and would instead promote family and community-oriented and solemn celebrations of the season. That instead of using their resources to buy firecrackers, they can use these to buy food – and more food that they can share during that special occasion with their families, friends and acquaintances.
The city of Baguio can learn from the Davao City experience. With a political will (even without an ordinance), the ban on the use and sale of firecrackers can be realized. Aside from eliminating death and injuries arising from firecrackers, we can realize our dreams that even animals – like my dog Pretty – would feel safe during the Christmas and New Year’s revelry. And we would enjoy the real spirit of Christmas and New Year – peacefully! Happy New Year to all! # nordis.net