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Go ahead, ban firecrackers

/ 06:50 AM January 05, 2014

The Philippine government is debating whether to ban the use of firecrackers during the Christmas season especially as we usher in the new year with an increasing number of firecracker blast victims.

Last year’s Christmas season saw an increase in the incidence of firecracker accidents compared to  the previous year. Some revelers said this was needed to drive away the negative energy after  the country was hit by an earthquake and supertyphoon.

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Lighting firecrackers is a tradition borrowed from the Chinese who believe that loud noise would drive away  bad spirits in order to welcome the New Year.  Instead we see the reverse of good fortune because many innocent people become victims.

It takes political will  like that of Davao City Mayor Digong Duterte to be effective if any ban is imposed against firecrackers.  Willpower is  wanting, however,  specifically in the ban on indiscriminate firing of guns. There were several victims   of stray bullets despite the  police ritual of taping the  barrels of service weapons before the New Year.

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The police have a hard time looking for the culprits. Few are sent to jail.

A government ban on the use of firecrackers should be seriously looked into in view of these clear disadvantages.

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Philip Zafra, Tisa barangay captain and now ABC president of Cebu City,  is looking at more challenges facing the ABC  in the delivery of basic services. It’s an understatement to say that barangays are the first line of defense when it comes to basic services just like  garbage collection.

It cannot be denied that some  barangays failed miserably in waste collection. I hope the new  ABC president can address this issue.

Another issue is the delivery of health services by  barangays since the Cebu City Medical Center is not fully functioning because of  damage caused by the Oct. 15 earthquake.

Barangay health centers should be strengthened . As an ex officio city councilor, Zafra’s entry  would not change the political equation in the city legislature which remains dominated by the  Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan but he can help as an ally of the  mayor by advocating his programs and defending the mayor from attacks in the council.

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For those hoping for a more  cooperative city council, sorry but  this can’t be expected with the 2016 national and local elections  fast approaching.  The council will be  very aggressive in blocking the mayor’s programs  to help his  arch rival plan a political comeback in 2016.

The mayor will have to be more aggressive and innovative in making his programs click with the people,  not the council.

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I think it’s  important that the Province of Cebu  repair the damaged Cebu International Convention Center especially that Cebu is hosting some meetings of the Asean Summit  we are looking into hosting the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) conference and the International  Eucharistic Congress of the Catholic Church.

It is unfortunate that the earthquake that struck this part of the country damaged the CICC. Allegations that the cost of building the CICC during the term of Gov. Gwen Garcia was bloated  because of graft and corruption that accompanied its construction.

It’s taking time for the Office of the Ombudsman to wrap up its investigation of the case. Many high-profile cases handled by the office have not yet been resolved. I am hoping the Ombudsman  becomes more  aggressive in its campaign.

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TAGS: Cebu, Cebu International Convention Center, Firecrackers, New Year, waste collection
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