IT’S tragic and unimaginable to lose loved ones and properties at a time when we’re celebrating the nativity of Jesus Christ. A fire razed houses in Sitio Caduldulan in Lawaan, Talisay City on Christmas eve. Luckily, no deaths or injuries were reported.

Worse was the fire on Dec. 23 that hit NCCC mall in Davao City. It was only Christmas Day that the bodies of 36 call center agents were retrieved from the mall. To those who lost their loved ones and their properties from the two separate fire incidents, our sincere sympathies.

Someone has to answer, though, for the said incidents. In the NCCC mall fire, investigators should determine if the mall’s smoke detectors and fire extinguishers were working.

Reports say that while the mall has fire exits, these were allegedly padlocked. If true, then the mall was a virtual fire trap. When was the last time the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) inspected the mall’s fire safety equipment?

Labor Secretary Bebot Bello, who is from Davao City, has instructed the officials of the occupational safety and health center and the labor regional office in Davao to investigate the possible violations by the NCCC mall of labor safety and health standards. “Some people must be held responsible for the senseless loss of lives,” he told the press.

In tragedies like this, the BFP is the lead agency in the investigation on the cause of the fire and whether fire safety standards were complied with. But it seems that the BFP lags in its primordial job when it should even be on its toes during this Christmas season.


Heavy traffic during the Christmas season is a recurring problem that concerned local government officials, the police and the local traffic management office should have anticipated and must have already provided solutions.

But the unbearable traffic experienced along the highway in Talisay and Minglanilla and in Mandaue City and Consolacion gives us the impression the concerned officials have run out of solutions to mitigate the worsening traffic problem in their areas.

Torni Frank Malilong complained during the radio program “Frankahay Ta” at dyCM (1152AM) that on Saturday Dec. 23, it took him more than five hours to travel from Naga City to the Minglanilla-Talisay area then to Cebu City. Travelers to the north of Cebu also experienced the same delay. Sam Buatag said it took him three hours to travel from Cebu City to Mandaue City and then from Consolacion to Liloan.

Were the responsible officials of these four LGUs already on a holiday break ahead of the Christmas celebration? Of course, they have a ready excuse: more people and vehicles travel during the Christmas season, hence the heavy volume of traffic.

But can’t these officials provide solutions even if only to mitigate this traffic malady that happens mostly a day or two before Christmas and New Year? It’s only five days before New Year 2018. To lessen the volume of traffic by then, my humble advice is for us to do the shopping now. Don’t wait for Dec. 31.

The other issue that largely contributes to the traffic problem are the undisciplined drivers that compete with others for space resulting to a gridlock particularly in unmanned intersections or those without traffic lights.

Despite with all the problems we’ve met in this Year of the Rooster, let’s move on and loudly bark to meet 2018, the Year of the Dog. Advanced Happy New Year everyone! Aw-aw!