By not using banned crackers

SAFE CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR’S CELEBRATIONS. An inter-agency task group, led by the Department of Health, is calling residents to make the forthcoming Christmas and New Year’s celebrations safe and secure. Photo shows personnel from the Bureau of Fire Protection in Pagsanghan, Samar making rounds in villages as part of its information drive to make the celebrations free from possible fire. (PAGSANGHAN FIRE STATION)

TACLOBAN CITY – The Department of Health (DOH) in the region together with its partner agencies asked the public to celebrate Christmas and New Year’s season in a peaceful way.
And this can be achieved by not using firecrackers and pyrotechnics identified to be prohibited which could put their lives in danger, the DOH said.

“The DOH annually conducts the ‘Ligtas Christmas para sa Healthy Pilipinas’ campaign to highlight celebrations during the holiday seasons through its three sub-campaigns,” local health support division chief Dr. Ma. Teresa Caidic said in a press conference on Wednesday (Dec.20).

Included in the three sub-campaigns is the ‘Iwas Paputok.’

As an alternative to using firecrackers, the health department is promoting the use of alternative materials to produce noise when welcoming Christmas and New Year such as blowing trumpets or horns, and the use of kitchen utensils.

Last year, the region recorded six cases of firecracker-related injuries, higher than the five cases in 2022.

The injuries were mostly associated with the use of ‘lantaka’ or bamboo canon, super lolo, and kwitis.

Reporting of firecracker-related injuries will start December 21.

To avoid firecracker-related injuries, the DOH encourages local government units to enact an ordinance that prohibits its use.

Earlier, Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Benhur Abalos called for local government units to pass an ordinance that would banned the use of firecrackers at home and recommended to identify common spaces for fireworks display, and if possible it will be supervised by licensed individuals.

Abalos cited Quezon City and Davao City which have an existing ordinance banning the use of fireworks and firecrackers.

Moreover, the Police Regional Office- 8 said that they have given permits to three firecrackers and fireworks distributors in the region while there are 120 retailers from the six provinces with permits to sell.

“These retailers are responsible to teach buyers the proper way of using firecrackers and fireworks and they should inform buyers to only use them at the designated firecracker zone,” Major Marjorie Manuta, police regional information officer, said.

The PNP prohibits the selling of firecrackers that exceed the legal limit of 0.3 grams of gunpowder including those with improper fuses.

Included in the list of prohibited firecrackers are watusi, poppop, five star, pla-pla, piccolo, giant bawang, goodbye bading, goodbye Philippines, atomic bomb, super lolo, hello Colombia, Judas’ belt, Giant whistle bomb, atomic triangle, mother rocket, goodbye Delima, goodbye Napoles, coke-in-can, Super Yolanda, pillbox star, kabasi, and Hamas.

To know that the firecrackers are within the limit set by the government, the Department of Trade and Industry instructed buyers to check for the Philippine Standard (PS) sticker.

Meanwhile, the Bureau of Fire Protection also encourages the residents across the region to be responsible in using firecrackers and fireworks to avoid cases of fire incidents.

Based on the BFP-8 record, the region has no reported cases of firecrackers-related fire incidents during last year’s celebrations.