Been observing for a long time now how we Filipinos celebrate New Year's Eve and also the after New Year Celebration news reports.

According to the news, firecracker-related injuries dropped this year - that's good news. However, an alarming 18 stray bullet cases were reported.

Another annual problem after the New Year is the SMOG over Metro Manila generated by the Fireworks which may cause health issues like asthma.

After reviewing some of the measures taken by the government which is mainly focused on lessening firecracker-related injuries only. I have here a few suggestions:

Although, I am not the kind of person to get excited with fireworks and fire crackers - I must admit that blowing up things and making loud noises during the New Year is indeed an addicting and exhilarating activity. My friends and I used to make those loud cannons made from bamboo and launch all kinds of things with it. That was fun! :)

Anyway, as I was saying.. we have three (3) recurring New Year problems: 
  • Firecracker-Related Injuries
  • Stray Bullet Injuries
  • SMOG
Promoting TOROTOTS, Grand Fire Works Displays in major parks and malls, New Year Concerts and Parties all over Metro Manila (Makati, Luneta Park, Mall of Asia, Resorts World, etc.) all helped to bring down injuries during the New Year but I think we should move past behind successes and go a step further so that we can aim for long-term solutions - because:
  • There will come a day where people will get tired of going to very crowded parks and concert grounds
  • All the measures taken are suggestive in nature, there are no concrete policies
  • Measures addresses only the visible problems and not the underlying causes
My Recommendations:

  • A policy that makes indiscriminate and reckless firecracker displays and exhibitions in major streets and roads illegal. There should be a designated area (one place only) in each Baranggay, villages or communities as a community fireworks area. It should be large and safe enough (like a play ground or park) to accommodate all the families who will participate. This will also be a great bonding experience for the community. Those who would prefer to stay at home may use other means to make noises, or you may opt to use firecrackers, but only inside your homes (and only if you have gardens, lawn areas or spaces inside your property that can accommodate such an activity).
  • Liquor ban should be imposed! You may drink all you like but only inside your homes or your properties. One of the leading cause of firecracker-related injuries are using firecrackers under the influence of alcohol and stupid drunk people who are trying to kill each other. Those who are caught drinking outside their homes should be confined to a jail and fined. Stupid drunk gun owners are also the cause of stray bullet injuries during New Year.
  • Gun ban should be imposed except for police officers who are on duty. Police visibility should also be increased during the New Year to implement the policies. Government officials should set an example. Televise how PNOY and other top government officials celebrate their New Year Eve.
  • To make these policies more effective, empower the Baranggay to police their own communities - and make them accountable for any violations in their areas of responsibilities ('budget cuts' for visible violations should be enough to motivate them to police themselves).
  • Intensify campaign for firecracker alternatives and SMOG awareness (info-drive) because we can't totally ban fireworks or firecrackers - to help minimize the after New Year SMOGs. This should be the main agenda for DOH, DOT, DENR, MMDA, NPDC and DEPEd for next year.
So that's it, and another thing.. DOT should provide and promote to the general public suggestions on other economical family-friendly places to go to in Mega Manila during Christmas and the New Year other than the SM Mall of Asia and Rizal Park. These two are already too crowded.

Have a blessed 2012 everyone!