TACLOBAN CITY- Interior and Local Government Secretary Ismael Sueno urged the public to celebrate the New Year holiday sans firecrackers to prevent firecracker-related injuries and accidents.
Sueno issued the statement in the midst of the annual tradition in welcoming the nativity of Christ, as well as in greeting the New Year, which by practice is accompanied by fireworks and firecrackers display.
“I believe there is no better way to celebrate this Holiday Season than to be in the company of our loved ones enjoying the happy, safe and peaceful comfort of our individual homes. Therefore, I enjoin everyone to try to welcome the festivity with utmost care by going back to our old way of making noise,” he said.
Sueno said that Christmas is not only a season of giving but also a time to rekindle the dwindling Filipino tradition and culture that has taken a back seat due to the evolution of technology.
“Magandang ipakilala din natin muli sa ating mga kabataan ang ilang bagay na nalipasan o nakalimutan na ng panahon ngayong Kapaskuhan tulad ng paggamit ng torotot, kaldero at takip (pot and lid), blowing of horns of the vehicles or by using cellphone ringtones, setting up a sound system outdoors that will encourage community countdown while waiting for the clock to strike at 12 midnight that will signal the coming of the new year,” he said.
Sueno said that while the government still allows the use of some firecrackers, resorting to the customary way of greeting New Year is danger-free and cost efficient.
He added: “Filipinos create noise to welcome the New Year and at the same time drive away the negativity. But we will not be able to do this if at the start of the year if a member of the family will have to be rushed to the hospital for immediate medical attention due to firecracker accident.”
The Secretary also reminded the sellers of pyrotechnics that display centers for such materials will only be allowed outside of malls and with proper safety protection to persons and property under existing rules and regulation.
He also reiterated that all pyrotechnics that will be shown in the display center should be marked with a Philippine Standards Product Certification issued by the Department of Trade and Industry.
In connection to this, Sueno urged all local government units (LGUs) including the DILG’s provincial and regional offices, as well as its attached bureaus and offices to be at the forefront of the campaign.
Last year, the Department of Health recorded 932 cases of injuries nationwide from Dec. 21, 2015 to Jan. 5, 2016.
Of the 932 reported injuries last year, 920 or 98.7 percent were due to fireworks, 10 or 1.1 percent from stray bullets, while 2 or 0.2 percent were firecracker ingestion. (PR)