MANILA, Philippines?Instead of laying out elaborate pyrotechnics in the New Year, Filipinos should be spending their money on ?more useful? things like food and education, according to Church leaders.
And they were also urged to indulge in more fun alternatives.
Catholic bishops added their voice to the impassioned appeals of health officials apprehensive about the indiscriminate use of firecrackers by merrymakers, which has already left 201 people injured in the run-up to New Year?s Eve.
Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo on Wednesday said buying firecrackers to greet the New Year was a waste of money.
?I do not forbid buying firecrackers but they have become very, very expensive and the money spent goes into the air as pollution and of course causes plenty of accidents,? he added.
Firecrackers in the market are priced from P50 to P1,000 or more, depending on the quality.
?Spend the money for something more useful for the coming New Year,? he advised.
It would be far more prudent if the money to be splurged on potentially lethal pyrotechnics is set aside to help put food on the table of poor neighbors or send deprived children to school, suggested Lagdameo on the Church-run Radio Veritas.
?There should be some kind of balance, some kind of frugality when it comes to the purchase of firecrackers,? he said.
The Department of Health on Wednesday pitched more creative and fun alternatives to greet 2011. Instead of firecrackers, households and communities could hold street parties, concerts, amateur contests and Ati-Atihan festivals and still usher in the New Year with a ?healthy bang,? it said.
Barangays could also hold stage communal fireworks displays in designated areas, the DOH said. Also highly recommended is the use of pots and pans as alternative noise-makers.
The real challenge
Basilan Bishop Martin Jumoad said it was time Filipino Catholics junked the idea that the noise firecrackers make will drive away evil.
?Evil is within us if we do bad things, the evil is in our thoughts if we plan ideas contrary to God?s will,? Jumoad also said over Radio Veritas.
He noted that Filipino households traditionally prepare large displays of fruits and an array of pyrotechnics to greet the New Year.
Jumoad is all for fruits being good symbols but not firecrackers.
?The real challenge of the New Year is to start a new life and a new conviction for the good of the society,? he said.