‘Yolanda,’ ‘Napoles’ and piccolo-A A +A
Saturday, December 28, 2013
WHEN you visit the stalls selling firecrackers at the South Road Properties, don’t forget the sea. The area (okay, correct me if I am wrong) is within what used to be Kawit island. Meaning that its attraction used to be the waves gently lapping the shoreline and the cool sea breeze.
That’s actually my advice also when you go to the “karnabal” with a drab name, “Kasadya sa SRP.” Part of the parking spaces there overlooks the sea. We went there at night, but I did pause momentarily to watch the waves in the dark and remember Camotes, where the sea is a friend.
My plan was not to buy firecrackers for Christmas. So when I went to the firecrackers market at the SRP, I was more interested in pyro like fountains, bengalas and the like. I thus missed talk about the latest craze this season, powerful firecrackers called “Yolanda” and “Napoles.”
Trust Pinoy firecracker-makers to tack a new label on an old product. If these are powerful explosives, these must be “baby dynamites” by another name. But “Yolanda” (as in super typhoon Yolanda) and “Napoles” (Janet Napoles, the “mastermind” of the pork barrel scam?) are the current buzzwords. So there.
I didn’t read this in the local papers yesterday, or I might just have overlooked it. But here’s the post by Dr. Eric Tayag, head of the National Epidemiology Center in his Twitter account yesterday:
“Amputations due to FW injuries: 1) 14 yo, male, cebu city, lost right hand fr super Yolanda; 2) 5 yo, male, Iloilo, lost index finger R hand.” So a Cebuano lost his hand to “Yolanda.”
Tayag also said that as of 6 a.m. yesterday, the Department of Health (DOH) had listed 140 season-related incidents, with 134 of these firecracker-related and six were injuries from stray bullets. Of the 134 firecracker-related incidents, 82 cases were
caused by piccolo.
Now, I know piccolo. If “Yolanda” and “Napoles” are big crackers, then piccolo is tiny. The big ones attract the macho, the small ones the kids. Piccolo can be bought from your neighborhood seller at P10 per box, which is the size of a full deck of cards.
I know because when the neighborhood kids started exploding it, my seven-year-old son lost interest in his “pop-pops,” those very tiny tubular things that pop when you throw these against hard surfaces (floor, walls, etc.).
Piccolo’s attraction is that it can be lighted when its head is scratched on a match-like surface and does not explode immediately, which is also the reason why it injures. Kids sometimes pick a still-to-explode piccolo after seconds of waiting thinking it wasn’t properly lighted.
That’s why when my son started lighting it, I made sure I was there to supervise him the whole time. Of course, I couldn’t stop him from handling piccolos after he saw his playmates lighting these.
Which reminds me of the effort of Tayag and the DOH to prevent the use of firecrackers during the season to lessen injuries caused by their misuse. Tayag even suggested to lawmakers to revisit the law that regulates the sale, manufacture, distribution and use of firecrackers and other pyrotechnics products. He wants a total ban on the use of firecrackers.
I don’t think that can be done, though, considering that firecracker-making is big business. More than that, its use is part of tradition. If you officially ban the manufacture of fireworks, its use will simply go underground, which would be more dangerous.
In the end, though, everything is up to the people themselves. They actually have the option not to buy firecrackers or not to explode them during the season. They also have the option to be careful if they insist on lighting them.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 29, 2013.