COMMENTARY: On Christmas explosives, By Loreta Sol L. Dinlayan

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews / January 8) – Yes, I admire Mayor Duterte of Davao City for having such political will to make Davao free from noise of ‘Christmas explosives’. In vernacular, we call that as pabuto. I admire the strength of that will so with the result of that will!

There’s nothing wrong with making noise during Christmas season because this is how most Filipinos translate Christmas. We want to be merry by making loud sounds; that includes the video-5 sessions in the neighborhood. We can tolerate the local version of both classical and modern singers, never mind the mistuned notes, because we understand that it’s Christmas.

The pabuto is costly not just in terms of money (check the price) but also of safety. It can hurt body parts if not properly handled. The bad news is, the pabuto has no psychology. It can’t recognize danger. It can cause fire (just this morning I heard of fire incident in Valencia City). Its potential to emit fumes invades physical health of people, animals and plants. It can pollute atmospheric condition setting aside the garbage it produces. It can irritate people. It can disturb reflective moments of an individual who meditates on how to make life better in 2010.

I don’t discount the justification of having pabuto during Christmas, especially when approaching New Year. It can drive away bad spirits who like to steal blessings intended for the coming New Year, accordingly! Prayer can do it, anyway. Prayer is more ‘explosive’, I think! What about the kids? Are we going to deprive them from the joy and thrill of having such ‘big bang!’ with the other kids in the neighborhood? We can make alternatives. Kids’ minds are playful and imaginative that they can absorb any home-made magic or gimmick. Caroling will do. Revive the magic-sing gadget. Or, we can gather all kinds of percussions available at home.

Through friends from Davao, I have heard of their success in no-explosives campaign during Christmas. I really admire the will power of the people of Davao in this endeavor. One of my professors at Xavier University makes Davao as her destination yearly where to spend new year. Kudos to Mayor Duterte! This project is a wholesome expression of being environmentally friendly. I think this is equally, or more, significant with what they accomplished in the recent Copenhagen Gathering.

The issue on political will is as explosive as that of pabuto particularly on this threshold of election. Few days from now, Christmas carols will be overshadowed by candidates’ jingles for election. Political officials’ will is more vivid than platforms. Platforms could be done overnight but not the will to accomplish its content. Such application of the will includes the identification of social problems and we can identify a lot here in Malaybalay. The solutions we give are the determinants, whether or not, we have the capacity to identify the real problems. Having pabuto is just a minute problem; and maybe for others it is not a problem at all! Those others have the myopic eyes unable to see what’s wrong in the community. Is this the same reason why there’s no political will to solve the problem on noise pollution at the capitol ground at night time, the presence of gangsters in plaza Rizal, the increasing number of street families in Fortich Street, the unfinished public market, the unmonitored beer and disco houses or what about those barangay officials who don’t attend meetings and assemblies?

I guess, we could heal our myopic eyes if given the proper space and time with no much noise around. We need to reflect. No wonder the philosophers like Socrates and Aristotle were able to generate priceless ideas because their culture provided them a noise-less era. May we could heal our sight before this year ends.

New year is fast approaching and I am looking for a place in Malaybalay where there is zero-pabuto. Our farm in Sitio Tigbawan is so inviting. Or maybe, I can just join my professor in Davao City and thank personally Mayor Duterte for such good leadership!

(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. The author is a social science professor at the Bukidnon State University. She is in charge of BSU’s ethno cultural museum. She is one of the contributors of Bukidnon’s Central Mindanao Newswatch. This piece was written shortly before the New Year)