Llanes: Banning firecrackers

SHOULD we or should we not ban firecrackers in our region? This is the decade old question that comes to mind every time the Christmas holiday unfolds in our country.

Our regional health department in the Cordillera registered as of 6am of January 3,2013 a total of 54 cases of fireworks-related injuries or an additional 2 cases more than that of last years new year revelry, and still counting.

And take note, 31 of these cases come from the 6-12 age group category, and 13 more coming from the 19 age group category with the main culprit identified as Pla-pla.

Earlier, Baguio City Mayor gave the firecracker dealers two days to sell their wares. This according to Cordillera Top Cop, Police Chief Superintendent Benjamin Magalong was admitted by the Local Chief Executive to be an unpopular decision.

I understand the side of the firecracker dealers when they previously stated that they only sell on e a year. But how can we justify such statements when we see children suffering from firecracker related injuries.

In one of the previous Kapihan Sa Baguio media forums where I was a co-host of PIA Cordillera Regional Dir.Helen Tibaldo, I questioned the integrity of this particular statement of the firecracker dealers.

We understand that this is their line of business which only happens once a year but how can we reconcile the fact that we only have one lifetime, and in our lifetime, we only become complete for once.

Short of saying, I will only have a single chance to see my fingers and hands complete while the firecracker dealers get to sell their wares once every year.

So now, I ask our local political leaders what is more important, the business side of selling or the health and wellness of our people?

The late Baguio journalist Manong Peppot Ilagan have always instilled in us younger journalists the virtue of "Do not ask what is obvious!" And so therefore, it is obvious that the health and wellness of our people is the utmost important act that our local officials should dwell into.

I share and pity Dr. Manuel Quirino, head of the Emergency Room of BGHMC, when he said that we should stop conducting such media forums on firecrackers when our local officials are not hell bent on coming up with an action that would prevent injuries to our people.

Could it be that this has something to do with the coming midterm elections? An unpopular decision might make or unmake a politician.

A vote is still a vote, and to win in an election, a politician should always follow the dictum of "Politics is addition and not subtraction."

Another challenge to our local politicians who crafts and implements laws that govern our city is, If Davao City successfully passed an ordinance banning firecrackers in their city, why can't Baguio follow suit?

Are they hesitant to make this move or is the vote and support of the local businessmen more important than the safety of our people?

Hopefully, our people who is given the duty, right and obligation to vote for who'm they see fit to run the affairs of the local government should use this to assess the local candidates.

Some sectors say that we should regulate the sale of firecrackers in the city. But regulation will always and never be accepted by those who have fallen prey to the negative effects of firecracker use.

Business must never be used as an excuse in exchange of the well being of our people.

We have recorded 54 cases of the said injuries and still counting. This alone shows that a move to ban the sale of firecrackers in Baguio must be done.

And so I dare say, "Let's Ban the use of firecrackers in Baguio and the Cordilleras"!
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