Even if President Rodrigo Duterte already issued a directive banning the use, sale and distribution of firecrackers, Mandaue City Hall’s citywide ban on firecrackers is still laudable if only to emphasize and enforce the President’s order on its constituents.
Having already enforced the ban on plastics, it’s just a matter of implementing and enforcing that ban that will decide if the Mandaue City government has the political will to do what it set out to do regardless of how it will impact those who depend on selling firecrackers as their livelihood.
In Cebu City, the city government already designated the South Road Properties (SRP) as the site for the sale of firecrackers, and the vendors would complain that the city government would go back on its word to allow them to sell if they decide otherwise to ban the sale of firecrackers.
Lapu-Lapu City also adopted a compromise specifically with Barangay Babag, which is considered the firecrackers’ capital in Cebu. But in keeping with the President’s order, the firecrackers ban should be implemented fully, and Mandaue City had no issues about complying with the order.
But let’s be clear that the ban is on firecrackers and not on fireworks, which don’t explode but still provide fancy light shows that dazzle and entertain the crowd. Fireworks can be used for festivities such as Christmas, New Year and in the case of Cebu, Sinulog and its numerous fiestas.
The Department of Health (DOH) is pushing for a total ban on firecrackers for obvious safety reasons, but we don’t know about their stand on fireworks, which can be handled by professionals and regulated down to the barangay level.
It’s the irresponsible use of firecrackers by the stubborn few, insisting on celebrating the festivities their own way regardless of the harm it may cause, who should be stopped and penalized. It’s high time that Cebu impose a firecracker ban, and they can do it without sacrificing the livelihood of those who make such products.
Solving the livelihood part may be as simple as telling them to shift to fireworks and noisemakers rather than firecrackers, which may be cheaper and don’t have to inflict harm on anyone especially those drunk and irresponsible revelers.
As had been repeatedly stated time and again in this corner, it’s high time that the local governments promote and finance the staging of community fireworks shows either at a citywide or town level in order to divert revelers from having to use firecrackers to celebrate the festivities.
Manila and other local governments in Luzon are also staging similar shows, and it’s only the isolated few barangays whose usually drunken residents insist on setting off firecrackers and end up whining and bleeding on the hospital floors, vowing never to use firecrackers again while showing their amputated hand/s.
If need be, tougher sanctions should be imposed while local officials offer to the community better alternatives for their constituents to celebrate the events rather than use firecrackers.