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Tradition

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I was congratulating myself last New Year’s Eve that the demonic bedlam that takes place every New Year’s Eve to drive the demons away lasted relatively briefly. It took only less than an hour where I lived, rising to crescendo by midnight and tapering off about 15 minutes or so later. Finally, I thought, we had come to our senses. Or the pleas about just sending the money to the victims of Yolanda instead of burning it in one senseless, wasteful and (self-)destructive ritual had finally fallen on not-very-deaf ears.

Posted: January 5th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Start anti-firecracker campaign early

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On this first day of a new year, I wish everybody to be happy and prosperous for the next 364 days.   Among the happiest people this year will be officials of the Quezon City government, especially the councilors. They will have an additional P60 million to play around with. That will come from the [...]

Posted: December 31st, 2013 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Don’t light up

Two hundred forty-four, and counting. That’s the number of people injured by firecrackers and stray bullets as of yesterday morning. It may look like a tiny number against a national population that’s well over 90 million, but injury by firecracker is no simple incident. The injured are often children, left unsupervised or inexplicably allowed to indulge in this dangerous activity. And the bodily harm can range from painful burns to the loss of fingers, even a whole hand, as in the recent case of a 14-year-old boy in Cebu whose hand was shattered by an extra-powerful firecracker called “Super Yolanda.”

Posted: December 30th, 2013 in Editor's Pick,Editorial,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Regulate manufacture, not use, of fireworks

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Happy New Year! I hope you still have all your fingers. Tomorrow (Tuesday) night, the Philippines will again appear like a war zone. Mini bombs and fireworks bursting everywhere and smoke from the explosives will envelop the atmosphere like a fog. Hospital emergency rooms will be crowded as overworked doctors and nurses treat the wounded [...]

Posted: December 29th, 2013 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Hopeful celebration

The yearend celebration will be particularly poignant because of the recent calamities that hit the country. A big number of Filipinos are in mourning and hard put to look to the new year with hope. It is but fitting for those fortunate to be spared tremendous loss, whether personal or material, to respect those who have lost everything. They can start by shunning the ostentation—let alone noise, to speak nothing of risk to life and limb—of expensive firecrackers and fireworks.

Posted: December 13th, 2013 in Editor's Pick,Editorial,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Too many guns in private hands

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AS PREDICTED in Wednesday’s column, the Department of Health (DOH) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) issued press releases after the New Year’s Eve mayhem that the total number of firecracker-related injuries is “less” than that of last year, patted themselves on the back, and claimed that this was due to their “successful” antifirecracker campaigns. Big deal! There were still 675 injuries caused by firecrackers, 20 from stray bullets, two of which were fatal. That does not include the deaths and injuries and properties lost in fires caused by firecrackers. As stated previously, even one death or injury is one too many. If the DOH and PNP were successful at all, there should have been zero casualty, as allegedly happened in Davao City.

Posted: January 3rd, 2013 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Cebu Gov. Garcia’s suspension

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Happy New Year! I hope you still have all your fingers. On New Year’s Eve, I enjoyed watching and listening to all the pyrotechnic devices exploding and swishing up into the air. I listened to the crackle of powerful firecrackers, watched the rockets shoot up into the air and explode in a kaleidoscope of colors to light up the night sky, and I had a very enjoyable time until early morning, but I still have all my fingers. And I didn’t have to spend a single peso on the fireworks.

Posted: January 1st, 2013 in Columnists,Columns,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Death wish

Tonight, young and old will again put their lives on the line to mark the passing of the old year and usher in the new. Expect the infuriating scenario of merrymakers, almost always male, brought to hospital emergency rooms yowling or grimacing, and bleeding to within an inch of their lives. Their fingers and other protuberances may have been blown off or “merely” mangled, their face a mess of tissue and bone, an eyeball shafted by a piece of firecracker for good measure, all in the course of carrying out an insane practice touted as tradition or, more to the point, a “manly” rite of passage: bombing the bejesus out of the neighborhood—and burning a tidy sum while at it. So uncool, dudes.

Posted: December 30th, 2012 in Editor's Pick,Editorial | Read More »

Teach Filipinos how to make safe firecrackers

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As this is being written, there are already 164 persons, most of them children, who have been injured by firecrackers. Three percent of them required amputation of the limbs. There is already one victim of a stray bullet fired into the air by an irresponsible gun owner. And New Year is still two days away. I am sure that by the time the New Year’s Eve revelry is over, there will be many, many more victims, dead and injured from firecracker blasts, stray bullets and fires.

Posted: December 30th, 2012 in Columns,Editor's Pick,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Mass murder again on New Year’s Eve

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This is again that time of the year when government authorities issue press releases warning against exploding firecrackers but do nothing serious to prevent the manufacture of unsafe fireworks or using them before, during and after New Year’s Eve.   The police raid some hoards of fireworks and confiscate them with much fanfare. Afterwards, when [...]

Posted: December 27th, 2012 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Dangerous bravado

Just what would it take to scare people away from dangerous firecrackers every New Year? Authorities have tried persuasion and blunt warning alike, but  they haven’t had much impact on a populace so in thrall to the supposed lucky properties of exploding, injurious pyrotechnics at the start of the new year—the bigger the bang, the [...]

Posted: December 31st, 2011 in Editor's Pick,Editorial | Read More »

How to stop the annual New Year’s Eve mayhem

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Three days before the New Year’s Eve “merrymaking,” already the number of firecracker- and stray bullet-related injuries monitored by the Department of Health has reached 143, much higher than last year’s on the same date. Obviously, the DOH’s “Iwas Paputok” and “APIR” campaigns have little effect on Filipinos. Telling Filipinos not to light firecrackers on New Year’s Eve is like King Canute telling the waves not to wet his feet.

Posted: December 29th, 2011 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

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