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By Lilian Mellejor
Davao Region has recorded zero casualties during the New Year's revelry.

The Police Regional Office (PRO) 11 reported that as of 9 a.m Monday, PRO 11 recorded “negative" incidents of stray bullet, indiscriminate firing, and fire or burning incident due to firecrackers.

There were no reported major injuries in relation to use of firecrackers.

In Davao City, there were no firecrackers and no “Torotot Festival” to welcome the New Year.

But for 17 years now since the passage of the city ordinance banning firecrackers and pyrotechnics in 2002, Dabawenyos have mastered how to celebrate the New Year safely.

Davao City maintained its record of zero casualties during New Year’s revelry.

At the stroke of midnight on January 1, Dabawenyos welcomed the year by blowing horns, playing loud music, banging pans and pots, honking of cars and tying small cooking pots and tins to their cars as they moved around the neighborhood.

The Torotot Festival and other major Pasko Fiesta activities were deferred by Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio after two tragedies hit Davao City -- the flooding on the night of December 22 when the Davao River overflowed in 25 barangays due to Tropical Storm "Vinta" and the fire that gutted the city’s home-grown New City Commercial Center (NCCC) Mall on December 23 that left 37 dead and one still missing.

Davao City has been holding aTorotot Festival every December 31 since 2013.

Duterte-Carpio said the cancellation of the activities is the Dabawenyos way of sympathizing with the victims of the flood and fire incident.

It was, however, unfortunate that a fire broke out in Barangay Aquino in Agdao District at the height of the New Year’s revelry.

The fire incident which started 12:10 a.m, displaced 51 homeowners, 25 renters, 29 sharers and 20 boarders.

The rest of Davao region also registered negative in casualties.

This year, President Rodrigo Duterte issues Executive Order 28 regulating the use of firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices.

Aligned with the law, most municipalities in Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, Davao Oriental, and Compostela Valley have not totally banned the use of firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices but they had designated areas for firecrackers and fireworks display.

Other Davao local government units have copied Davao City’s law like Sta. Cruz and Hagonoy in Davao del Sur; Sto. Tomas, Carmen, B.E Dujali and Panabo City in Davao del Norte.

Police authorities factored in the cooperation of the people for the zero casualties.

“Our goal is to have a safe and peaceful celebration of the New Year, and this would not be possible without the dedication among our personnel together with the local government units and other agencies like Department of Health, Department of Interior and Local Government,Bureau of Fire and of course public’s cooperation,” said Chief Superintendent Manuel Gaerlan, the Director of PRO 11.

Gaerlan, however, announced the PRO 11 still maintains its high alert status and will continue to monitor and provide overall security to maintain safety and peace and order for the whole region. (PNA)

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Flood and Landslide in Davao Region

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