For the sixth straight year, Christmas Eve was celebrated in the Southern Philippine City of Davao without anybody getting injured from firecracker explosions.
The reason: Davao City’s Ordinance No. 060-02 which bans the manufacture, sale, distribution, possession or use of firecrackers and pyrotechnic devices in the city at any given time of the year, but most especially on Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
Enacted on Oct. 15, 2002, the Ordinance imposes fines of up to P5,000 and a jail term of six months for violators and the cancellation of business permits of establishments caught violation the ban.
In a recent video interview posted on Youtube.com, Davao City Mayor and Presidential candidate Rody Duterte said that during the celebration of Christmas Eve 2015, he heard only one explosion.
He said he was not even sure if it was a firecracker.
video from YouTube User kizmekwek
Duterte has been very firm in the implementation of the firecracker ban in the city and has not yielded to any appeal from business establishments involved in the manufacture of pyrotechnics.
“I know that there are people, especially those from Bocaue, Bulacan who are not happy with what I am doing but I have to ask them to understand that I have a higher duty to my fellow human beings,” he said in the recent interview.
Duterte said he has to protect the welfare of the people and if in doing that he would step on the toes of several others, he would ask for their understanding.
Last year, at three barangay officials were ordered arrested after their neighbors reported that they exploded firecrackers during Christmas Eve.
Along the with firecrackers ban, Davao City has also implemented a 30-km. speed limit in the city’s downtown streets and 60-km. on national highways traversing the city.
Among those caught violating the speed limit and fined correspondingly were Duterte’s own daughter, former Mayor and now lone candidate for City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, and party-list Congressman Carlo Zarate.
The strict speed limit ordinance, however, has reduced road accidents in Davao City by 60%, according to hospital authorities in the city.
Davao City also imposes a very strict ban on smoking in public places where violators are slapped hefty fines which for the last two years raised about P3.2-M in fines.
The money gathered from fines imposed on violators of the anti-smoking ban was donated by the City Government to the House of Hope, a halfway house for children from all over Mindanao suffering from cancer.
Duterte has vowed that if he is elected President of the Philippines in 2016, he would impose a nation-wide ban on firecrackers but promised that he would help those involved in the pyrotechnic industry now to start new businesses which would not pose harm to the people.
By Manny Piñol