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Manila Standard : A total ban on firecrackers

News & Interviews
28 December 2021

By Emil Jurado | Manila Standard

“Will the Palace even make an announcement?”

There is a lot of anticipation that it will be a Happy New Year for us all. I wonder though if there will be a total ban on firecrackers and all forms of pyrotechnics. There has been no formal announcement coming from Malacanang.

What worries me are reports that some people are already lining up in Bocaue to buy those deadly forms of pyrotechnics that Bocaue shopkeepers are not even supposed to peddle. If this is true, obviously, some people never learn a lesson.

Firecrackers have no Filipino connection and tradition, but the Chinese resort to these to ward off evil spirits. I believe it has some kind of psychological and mental aberration for many Filipinos. They love their money being blown away to those firecrackers, without realizing the ill-effects of air pollution on many.

Will there even be an announcement from the Palace?

With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the threat of the dreaded Omicron variant still with us, it will be a double whammy on us!

My wife and I have been to Hong Kong and Singapore on New Year’s Eve. The two cities are predominantly Chinese where firecrackers and other forms of pyrotechnics are banned. The two cities simply entertain tourists by a display of pyrotechnics at the Hong Kong and Singapore bays. Except in those places, those Chinese do not play around with firecrackers and other forms of pyrotechnics the way we in the Philippines do. My gulay, to think that firecrackers and other forms of pyrotechnics are of Chinese origins.

•••

Pulse Asia’s “Ulat ng Bayan” poll survey of early December, reveals two things: First, the May 9, 2022 elections can be a boring presidential and vice presidential race. We almost already know who the winners will be.

The problem of Bongbong Marcos now is how to maintain his lead. The same goes for Sara Duterte.

In 2016, people were not sure that Duterte could win. It was only during the post-election exit survey when we knew that Duterte won.

Certainly, we already know who will lose.

The fact at that time that the “Yellows” aspirant, Mar Roxas after election suddenly became No.2 and that in the vice presidential race, Bongbong, who people knew was winning suddenly was overtaken by Robredo when people went to sleep on the night of the election. I really believe Smartmatic did some magic to make Robredo win.

•••

In the Senate now, it looks like former senators like former Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, Loren Legarda of Antique, Sorsogon Governor Chiz Escudero, incumbent senators Migs Zubiri, Joel Villaueva, Win Gatchalian, Risa Hontiveros, Jinggoy Estrada, and newcomers Raffy Tulfo, a popular broadcaster, former DPWH Secretary Mark Villar, former Vice President Jojo Binay, and actor Robin Padilla have statistical chance of making it.

If you look at the names of those who will probably make it in the Senate race, it is mostly name recall. That’s how it is in the Senate race.

•••

Once again, I appeal to the Senate to enact immediately the long pending DDR or Department of Disaster Resiliency in the wake of all devastation wrought by super-typhoon Odette in the Visayas and Mindanao, with so many lives lost, missing and injured, and with the millions of pesos in infrastructure and agriculture also devastated.

Yes, we have the NDRRMC, an ad hoc body, already devolved into regional and provincial offices. But, they are not enough of the three “Rs,” rescue, relief and rehabilitation. We need the department, with its own budget, urgently, so it could focus and strategize how we can live with disasters.

This DDR was enacted by the House of Representatives in the past Congress, and all it needs is for the Senate to act as well. President Duterte should certify the bill as urgent.

•••

The World Health Organization says that 2022 could well mean the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. But, my gulay, how could COVID-19 cases be stopped at the rate the virus has so many variants like the latest one called Omicron? Analysts even say that this variant could also frustrate efforts at economic recovery.

I have a feeling the COVID-19 could even outlast next year. Let’s not be complacent.

•••

I’d like to thank all those who remembered me during the Christmas holidays.