Torotot’ fest to make noise vs. use of firecrackers

ILOILO CITY– The Department of Health (DOH) in Western Visayas will gather some 600 students of the Colegio del Sagrado Corazon de Jesus for a forum as it intensifies its “Iwas Paputok” campaign on Monday.

The afternoon forum will be highlighted by the “Torotot” Festival to encourage the public to use alternative means of creating noise in welcoming the New Year, according to Dr. May Ann Sta. Lucia, DOH regional coordinator for violence and injury prevention program.

Sta. Lucia said that there will be a contest for the longest, shortest and most unique “torotot”. DOH will provide for those who have none, she added.

Meantime, in the morning, employees of DOH regional office will also have their own version of the ‘Torotot’ Festival.

The event is held as part of the nationwide simultaneous launching of the DOH awareness campaign for its “Iwas Paputok” program.

Sta. Lucia said that “torotot” happens to be the top instrument that is being encouraged as alternative for firecrackers.

“Let us celebrate New Year in a happy and complete way — complete hands, fingers and feet,” she said.

Sta. Lucia though admitted that it’s difficult to go against a “tradition.” The use of firecrackers to usher New Year has been the practice of Filipinos.

“Behavior change cannot be done overnight,” she said.

On Tuesday, DOH already launched its Iwas Paputok campaign in Western Visayas highlighted by a caravan in the city’s major thoroughfare.

During the launching, Sta. Lucia said that local government units are enjoined to observe community fireworks display.

Meantime, Mayor Jose Espinosa III said Friday that he is not keen on holding a community fireworks display because aside from it being expensive, by tradition Filipinos have to be in their homes by midnight to welcome the New Year.

Instead, the city government will just light up all plazas and hold a “parol” making contest along the city’s Muelle Laney area that will stay for a month.

Meantime, he tasked city administrator Hernando Galvez to study the policy and Malacanang pronouncements regarding the selling of firecrackers.

He confirmed that there are already applications to sell firecrackers but he has not acted on them yet pending the study. He hoped to be briefed about the policy in a day or two.

“Before I will act on it I am of the total knowledge about the pronouncements of the President (Rodrigo Duterte) so we will just follow. I will not commit on anything about the selling of firecrackers in the city,” he said.

He emphasized, however, that he will not allow the selling of firecrackers in district plazas. Perla Lena/PNA