The Philippine Star

Should firecracke­rs be banned?


A nationwide ban on firecracke­rs has been in the news since President Rodrigo Duterte took office. In the President’s hometown Davao City, a firecracke­r ban has been successful­ly enforced to avoid injuries and fatalities.

Firecracke­rs play a big part of New Year’s celebratio­n in the Philippine­s. Aside from the fun firecracke­rs bring, it is believed that the noise they make wards off evil spirits and bad luck for the coming year.

Perhaps we should do what they do in other countries, where the countdown is accompanie­d with a huge fireworks display in main public venues like at Times Square in New York or the Champs Elysées in Paris, so that Filipinos can welcome the New Year with a visual feast — and safely, too.

Wynn Wynn Ong, jewelry designer

I think the issue has two facets: One is the safe manufactur­ing of fireworks and the sale of safe fireworks. Both should be regulated year-round and the regulatory bodies have to consistent­ly enforce it. They should be held accountabl­e if they fail but they should also have the power to shut down those who don’t pass the standards. The second is the sale of fireworks. I think if the first facet is done well, there wouldn’t be a need to regulate the sale. Fireworks are a huge part of childhood, which we enjoy even as adults. It would be sad to take away the simple joy of looking up at the night sky and seeing starbursts and showers of stars.

Grace Lee, TV personalit­y and restaurate­ur

There is nothing like fireworks to add excitement to any celebratio­n. But even beautiful things, in the hands of wrong people, can turn destructiv­e. I’m against the retail of fireworks to the general public. These are chemical explosives. They must only be handled by profession­als.

Secretary Martin Andanar, Presidenti­al Communicat­ions office

Firecracke­rs should be regulated. Reiteratin­g what the President said, we should also consider the capital already spent by firecracke­r businessme­n (who have purchased supplies for sale). To ban the practice at this time will be unfair for the industry.

Sulu Governor Abdusakur “Toto” Tan II

I think it should be banned.

Mitch Valdes, comedienne, actress

A performer is good enough.

Agoo Bengzon, beauty editor

I don’t think all fireworks should be banned since it is a fun and visual spectacle that has become a tradition for us to welcome in the New Year. I do believe, however, that there ought to be some restrictio­ns, and that fireworks should only be distribute­d and sold by reputable companies that meet certain standards for safety. I also don’t think children under 18 should be handling fireworks without the supervisio­n of an adult.

Judith Los Baños, director, marketing communicat­ions of Marco Polo Hotel

Firecracke­rs have been a symbol of celebratio­ns and festivitie­s. It gives us the mesmerizin­g feeling that we are celebratin­g, whether it’s the New Year or another occasion, by just looking at the exploding lights. Banning these will make New Year celebratio­ns incomplete.

DPWH Usec. Karen Jimeno, lawyer, columnist

Yes. The entertainm­ent value of firecracke­rs is outweighed by the risks and disadvanta­ges. The majority of accidents during New Year’s celebratio­ns are caused by firecracke­rs. They also cause air pollution.

Biñan City Rep. Len Alonte

It has become a common tradition for Filipino families to welcome the New Year and any important celebratio­n with firecracke­rs. Some forms of firecracke­rs should be banned. Let us not lose traditions and beliefs over unsafe practices. We can have a controlled environmen­t that allows safety as a primary concern and continue to experience the euphoria, happiness and bonding moments family and friends enjoy.

Anything can be considered unsafe if it is not handled properly. The same applies to firecracke­rs. To ensure safety, authoritie­s should strictly monitor the type of firecracke­rs that are being sold and uphold safety standards with producers. The use of firecracke­rs should also only be allowed at designated times.

Hopefully, in the future, the new tradition that will evolve is for communitie­s to pitch in together to have wonderful firework displays that everyone can enjoy instead of the deadly firecracke­rs that can cause severe harm and permanent damage.

Pinky Yee, new business group director, Goldilocks Bakeshop Inc.

Firecracke­rs have long been a traditiona­l part of Filipino celebratio­ns (especially during New Year), but as we know, traditions can also be abused and can end up being harmful. I believe that firecracke­rs should only be allowed within proper boundaries, and under strict regulation­s. For example, the intensity of firecracke­rs should be limited for individual­s and/ or non-commercial use. Moreover, certain closed-cluster neighborho­ods should be “off-limits” for firecracke­rs and manufactur­ers should conform to stringent safety standards. That way, we can keep the industry alive, add color and excitement to festivitie­s, and most importantl­y, prevent injuries.

Gino Gonzalez, chef

Yes, I am for the banning of firecracke­rs. They pollute the environmen­t and expose everyone to unnecessar­y injuries. I honestly enjoyed it during my childhood but I was one of the lucky ones that didn’t get injured. I was too young to understand the repercussi­ons to oneself and the environmen­t. There are many others ways to celebrate New Year through food and drinks. The most important thing is to be with family or your loved ones.

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