The Department of Health’s (DOH) anti-firecracker campaign nationwide has been “relatively successful,” considering the 35-percent drop in fireworks-related injuries this Yuletide season, Malacañang said on Thursday.
“It should be relatively successful, given the fact that there has been a downtrend in injuries. Thirty-five percent. Malaki rin ang 35 percent (Thirty-five percent, it’s also a huge decline in firecracker-related injuries),” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo told Palace reporters in a press conference.
“At saka walang deaths ha, ‘yun ang ano doon, significant (And the significant development is there is no death). There is no death, unlike before,” he added.
On Wednesday, the DOH reported that there have been 164 firecracker-related injuries from Dec. 1, 2019 to Jan. 1, 2020, lower than the 251 recorded during the same period last year.
The legal fireworks that have accounted for 80 percent of injuries are kuwitis (33), luces (19), fountain (18), and baby rocket (nine).
Picollo and boga, banned firecrackers, have injured 18 people and eight people, respectively.
Asked if the government has plans to amend the list of legal fireworks in the country, Panelo said: “Hindi ko pa alam iyan. Depende siguro iyan. Ang magre-recommend diyan, ‘yung mga agencies involved (I do not know that yet. Perhaps, it depends on the recommendation of involved agencies).”
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on Wednesday attributed the sharp decrease in firecracker-related injuries to the implementation of Executive Order (EO) 28 issued by President Rodrigo Duterte on June 20, 2017.
Duque also said the lower number of firecracker-related injuries was also driven by the DOH’s information campaign, “IwasPaputok.”
Injuries due to people’s ‘carelessness’
Panelo said some people suffered injuries because of their “carelessness.”
He said the injuries this year could have been avoided had the Filipinos heeded the government’s call to avoid the use of firecrackers.
“Maraming matitigas ang ulo kasi (Many are still hardheaded),” Panelo said.
Duterte’s EO 28 sets “stricter” rules and regulations on the use of firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices to prevent injuries and casualties recorded every Christmas and New Year holidays.
The EO also limits the use of firecrackers to “community displays” that must be under the supervision of a “trained person” duly licensed by the Philippine National Police (PNP).
On Oct. 9, 2018, the President also signed Memorandum Order (MO) 31, suspending the granting of new licenses and permits for the manufacture, sale, and distribution of firecrackers and pyrotechnic devices, pending review of existing licenses and permits.
MO 31 also directs the PNP to carry out inspections to ensure that manufacturers, distributors, retailers, and users of firecrackers and pyrotechnic devices comply with the safety guidelines cited under existing laws, rules and regulations.
Bill on total firecracker ban
The latest number of injuries has prompted the DOH to renew its call for a total ban on firecrackers and pyrotechnic devices all throughout the country.
Panelo said the President favors the passage of a measure that would impose a total prohibition on the use of deadly firecrackers and pyrotechnics.
He also raised the possibility that Duterte might certify as urgent the bill that seeks to implement the total ban on firecrackers nationwide.
“Aba’y kung si Presidente ang masusunod, gusto niya, total ban. But marami ring nakikiusap na pwede naming i-regulate (The President wants the total ban, if only he has a choice. But many have asked him just regulate the use of firecrackers),” Panelo said. (PNA)