It’s about political will


UNTIL 30 years ago, welcoming and celebrating the New Year was about fun, and lighting firecrackers was as harmless as the sparklers. They were ear-splitting enough and seeming temporary deafness was about the only possible harm to one’s health. There were still fingers burned but not damaged enough to be severed. It was fun and safe then.

Then something changed. Firecrackers became lethal and hazardous to one’s health. Seeing children’s hands mutilated has become a normal thing, and a number already begin to lose their lives to stray bullets. Government appears helpless to stop the deadly culture.

The city government of Davao was the first to act decisively to protect its residents by passing a law banning all firecrackers and strictly enforced it. The residents grudgingly complied but later considered themselves fortunate since no child or a macho man ever had to risk losing his fingers, or going blind. All it took was political will.

That precedence has also taken roots in the small, peaceful town of Sto. Tomas, in the province, and the residents are benefitting from it.

It may take a longer time for a national law to completely ban firecrackers, but city governments of Davao, Baguio, Olongapo, Kidapawan, Zamboanga and Muntinlupa and the town of Sto. Tomas have proven that it can stop the madness here and now. Which Pangasinan other city/town mayor will care enough more for their constituents’ lives than the manufacturers and vendors of the lethal firecrackers?


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“HOW much the world needs tenderness today!”

That came from Pope Francis on a Christmas Eve Mass, after making a phone call to some Iraqi refugees forced to flee their homes by Muslim militants of the Islamic State.

Francis told the Iraqis:  “You’re like Jesus on this night, and I bless you and am close to you.  I embrace you all and wish for you a holy Christmas.”

If anything, the pope’s tenderness thing has reechoed a call for humankind that is as old as time.  This world has long been gripped by greed and power, reducing tenderness into mere lip service.  Sadly even, our so-called leaders reek of ill-gotten wealth, treating our poor as mere tools to perpetuate their evil deeds.

We pray Francis will reemphasize his tenderness take when he visits us Jan. 15-19.  And next hope that our leaders will see the light.  Finally.

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