Every year, in order to Celebrate the Christmas and New Year Holidays Philippino’s like to make as much noise as they can especially to welcome in the New Year. Some make noise by Rattling things, Some, Blow Whistles, Some Rev their Vehicle Engines but the majority like to set off Fire Crackers, the louder the better for them!
This Tradition of making lots of noise for the New Year is a Chinese Idea I believe and with the Filipinos liking noise its easy to see why they took up the tradition!
In most Countries, the manufacture and sale of Fireworks is very well controlled and in some countries the sale to the normal population is not allowed, only organized events take place. In the Philippines, unfortunately such Laws are in place but never followed up.
Every year, the Fireworks Manufacturers try to make the most powerful and noisiest items as best they can and this means using more and more Gun Powder to get the best results for them.
Now, let me say that the Manufacture of Fireworks in not regulated here, it is just a cottage industry where anyone who can will make fireworks and no licence is required.
Most of the Fireworks Factories are just normal houses in the middle of a sub division and it is not unusual every year for one or two of these factories to explode, sometimes killing people and burning down other houses! Nobody seems to care when such things happen!
Every year, mostly because of pure stupidity many people get injured with burns or other injuries which require the Amputation of affected digits and limbs and some even die from their injuries. Sad as this sounds, this happens year after year and things do not change.
Another form of celebrating the New Year is by firing guns into the air, unfortunately the fired bullets have to come down and again, every year people are killed or injured by stupid and irresponsible gun fire! Luckily now, the Police are trying to put a stop to this kind of danger and they started by sealing the ends of the Police Weapons with masking tape and having the tape signed by a senior officer! It shows that the powers that be do not trust the Police to be sensible on these holidays!
In preparation for the injuries which are inevitable, the Local Hospitals prepare but only to give the most basic of treatment, Severed parts of the body are simply trimmed back as best they can do, stitched up, dressed and the victim sent home, they only do the basics as most people have no money for good treatment. I think that you can guess that most of the people who get injured are poor and badly educated! I will add a few pictures of minor injuries here but the more graphic ones I will not add!
You can never get the true figures of the amount of people killed and injured but it is probably well over one thousand and maybey even more but we will never know.
There was one case this year where a father and Son were delivering Fireworks in a Tricycle, the ones like the Hardware Stores use, unfortunately the heat from the exhaust set of the Fireworks and the Father was terribly burned and the Son Killed.
On New Years Eve 15 Fireworks Stands caught fire and gave a great free show, luckily there were no injuries except for the financial losses which still have to be paid back to the suppliers!
Many of the more dangerous types of Fire Crackers contain sometimes 5kg of Gun Powder, say what you want, these are BOMBS and should not be available to any general public in any country!
I know that whatever I say or do, it will not change anything and next year the same things will happen and the Emergency Rooms will be very busy as usual. Maybe some day things will change but it is still a long time away, only a total ban on Fireworks will succeed but that will never happen!
Happy New Year to all, Have a good one!
Chris Dearne, aka "GenSan Chris" is a long term resident of the Philippines. Chris has been living in General Santos City since 1992! Chris owns a hotel in General Santos called Cambridge Farm Hotel, and also the Cambridge Dive Center, formerly Tuna City Scuba Center. Chris' interests include Scuba Diving, Instructing, and Formula 1 Racing.