Every year at this time, the Department of Health, the Philippine National Police and local governments in Metro Manila launch a campaign against the use of firecrackers and pyrotechnics to welcome the New Year.
Every year, many are hospitalized, injured and maimed, even killed by stray bullets so much so that the yearly “Iwas Putok” campaign has become a joke.
The use of firecrackers and other forms of pyrotechnics is a carryover from the community of Chinese in the Philippines who believe that these ward off evil spirits.
What is strange is that the Chinese themselves in Hong Kong, Singapore and elsewhere have stopped this practice. I know because I’ve been to these places for the holidays. They greet the New Year with fireworks and pyrotechnics display at designated places only.
My gulay, why don’t the LGUs in Metro Manila just ban the sale and use of firecrackers? In other cities—Davao, for instance—the sale and use of firecrackers are banned. Why can’t we do the same for Metro Manila and just have designated places for fireworks display for the benefit of all?
It could even be a tourist attraction!
I have told that banned (hence, smuggled) firecrackers are now being sold at Divisoria. Just how these were able to enter the Philippines may be explained by Customs Commissioner Bert Lina. Soon, these may find their way to Bocaue, Bulacan.
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When President Aquino anointed former Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas as the administration candidate and assured Roxas of his campaign support, I wrote that the endorsement would be a kiss of death.
With Mar Roxas still lagging behind Mrs. Mary Grace Natividad Sonora Poe, Vice President Jojo Binay and now Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte—the top choice despite all his vulgarity, profanity and obscenity—it should now be clear to Mar that President Aquino’s support has become a handicap.
The mere mention of “Daang Matuwid” reminds people of the utter incompetence, ineptitude, hypocrisy, lies, lack of empathy and selective justice of the Aquino administration.
Read this, Mar, and weep: Filipinos are not likely to support the candidate endorsed by President Aquino.
Recall that Mar lost to Binay in 2010 because he was badly handled by his publicists. He was packaged as a man of the masses, called “Mr. Palengke,” made to carry a sack of rice, made to drive a pedicab. These were not acceptable to the people who know him as rich and elitist.
In other words, he’s a fake.
Now, Mar is committing a bigger mistake by having President Aquino endorse him under the so-called “Daang Matuwid” slogan.
I can only sympathize with Mar. The long shadow of BS Aquino III follows him everywhere.
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The London-based Amnesty International has raised red flags about the human rights record of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte. It expressed alarm over the people’s fascination with his vulgarity, profanity, obscenity to the extent of even cursing His Holiness, Pope Francis.
In my earlier columns, I wondered why people around him, and even his two senator-backers, Koko Pimentel and Alan Peter Cayetano, are cheering Duterte on. This is so un-Filipino and un-Christian.
Amnesty International added that it had been monitoring Duterte’s activities. The group is raising red flags as well.
My gulay, in my over 65 years as a journalist, I have never heard a presidential candidate vow to kill and get away with it. It can’t be generation gap: What was wrong during the time of Christ is still wrong today.
What particularly distressed the human rights group was when Duterte said that if elected he would revive the death penalty and to “execute on a weekly basis.”
If he wins, then I would wonder where we are going for the next six years.
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Senator Mary Grace Natividad Sonora Poe now says that she did not mean to deceive the electorate when she filed her Certificate of Candidacy for President. This is according to her lawyer who wants the Comelec en banc to reverse the decision disqualifying her, earlier handed down by its Second Division.
Oh yeah? No intention to receive the electorate when she claimed in her CoC that she had been a resident of the Philippines for 10 years and 11 months to qualify her for the presidency?
This is why the Comelec commissioners of the Second Division disqualified her. She misrepresented her residency status when she claimed under oath in her senatorial CoC that she had been a resident of the Philippines for six years and six months when she ran for the 2013 elections. She never corrected it because she never dreamed of running for the presidency.
Intelligent as she is, Mrs. Llamanzares cannot now claim it to be an honest mistake.
Mrs. Llamanzares also claims that the Comelec has no jurisdiction on the qualifications of a candidate. Obviously, the lawyer can’t read English. The Omnibus Election Code precisely mandates the Comelec to rule on the qualifications of candidates for office. That’s why they have to file their CoC to be decided by the Comelec. However, if Mrs. Llamanzares’ lawyers want to contest the decision on the ground that the Comelec abused its discretion in excess of jurisdiction, they can elevate the issue to the Supreme Court.
But, to say that Mrs. Llamanzares had no intention to deceive the electorate, that’s a lie. This is like the time she lied when she claimed under oath that she was the natural-born daughter of Fernando Poe Jr. and Susan Roces.