A New Year reveler's dilemma… To bang or not to bang?
WOULD the New Year be greeted with a bang or a toot?
Merrymaking and its consequential injuries while welcoming the new year may be determined by the response of the revelers themselves and the law enforcement authorities who have earlier received the order of the crackdown on the proliferation of dangerous and illegal firecrackers. With the dilemma, authorities have in fact pressed for the revelers to use the harmless tooting horns instead, which are sold in the sidewalks.
Earlier, the Department of Health (DOH) through Health Secretary Francisco Duque III appealed for a stronger crackdown against the proliferation of dangerous and illegal firecrackers nationwide, as the incidents of fire-cracker related injuries and casualties rose over the week. The DOH call came following President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's order of a similar crackdown on illegal firecracker sale and stricter implementation of laws covering the manufacture and sale of such items.
The president's order and the DOH appeal came following a fire-cracker caused fire that killed 25 shoppers in a mall in Ormoc City last week. Alarmed by that and similar incidents of firecracker-related injuries and casualties and in the coming New Year's celebration, the Health Secretary issued the appeal during the regular press briefing of Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita in Malacanang recently.
As this developed, Tagbilaran City Police Chief Jacinto Cesar has also ordered his men to go the extra mile and stretch police visibility despite the bleak scenario of an out-numbered police-citizen ratio. During a command conference Friday morning, the former provincial intelligence officer said he has dispatched more men into the streets to confiscate and further discourage any sale of illegal firecrackers as well as impose the city ordinance regarding the areas earlier designated as firecracker zones.
The city chief's order was also based on Philippine National Police Director General Oscar Calderon's order to coordinate with the local government units and convince them to pass local ordinances to address the proliferation of dangerous firecrackers in the streets. The city police now is closely working with the Department of National Defense (DND), the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) who are into apprehending establishments manufacturing and selling prohibited firecrackers.
The DOH, through "Formula Kontra Paputok 2006" surveillance update said, a total of 173 firecracker-related incidents were reported from Dec. 21 to Dec. 27 this year, compared to the 78 cases recorded during the same period of 2005. The Health Department monitoring also revealed that the biggest culprit in firecracker accidents and injuries is the highly-popular "Boga," with 30 cases, then piccolo with 23; five-star, 22; whistle bomb, 15; triangle, 14, others, 44, and unknown, 14. As this came out, the city chief has said he is going to post policemen in the vicinity of the Muslim Village where sales of firecrackers have been observed last week. The order also came noting that the firecrackers that have caused the listed injuries are easily sold at the Muslim Village