DILG to LGUs, PNP, BFP: Target zero-firecracker injuries this holiday season
The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) is urging local government units (LGUs) and has directed the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) to target zero-firecracker injuries this holiday season by sustaining the implementation of national and local policies regulating the use of firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices.
"Ituloy-tuloy lang natin ang pagmomonitor at pagpapatupad ng mga batas tungkol sa mga paputok. Ang gusto lang naman natin ay walang mapahamak at maging ligtas at payapa ang pagdiriwang ng Pasko at Bagong Taon,” says DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año.
The DILG Secretary says that it is the mandate of the LGUs to protect their constituents, promote their general welfare, and ensure that their fireworks-related local ordinances, are well implemented and followed by their constituents.
"Ang paglilingkod-bayan ay walang bakasyon, kaya naman kailangang tiyakin ng mga pamahalaang lokal na bagama't nagsasaya ang lahat ay mahigpit pa ring maipatutupad ang batas kagaya ng pagbabawal sa pagpapaputok," he says while acknowledging that LGUs have been successful in their anti-firecracker campaign as reflected in the declining number of firecracker-related incidents since 2016.
DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya says that based on data provided by the PNP, only 307 firecracker-related incidents nationwide were recorded in January 2019 which is 67 percent lower than the 929 recorded incidents in 2016. In 2018, there were 449 incidents while in 2017, there were 652.
"There has been a steady decline for the past three years and we can sustain that trend if we remain persistent with our efforts to implement laws and regulations on the use of firecrackers such as Republic Act 7183 and Executive Order No. 28," says Malaya.
The DILG has issued Memorandum Circular 2017-105, implementing EO 28 which enjoins the LGUs, the PNP, and the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) to take necessary actions on the regulation and control of the use of firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices nationwide.
Malaya says that in accordance with EO 28, the PNP and the BFP have been inspecting fireworks companies and retailers of firecrackers to ensure that illegal firecrackers such as picolo, watusi, and Judas belt, among others, are completely taken off the market.
Under its provisions, the PNP is also tasked to beef up its force to provide security in identified firecrackers and pyrotechnic zones and firecracker/pyrotechnic displays in respective areas in coordination with appropriate agencies and stakeholders.
Police units are also expected to conduct inspections of the manufacturing complex, warehouse, and processing area of manufacturers and dealers in their respective areas of responsibility to ensure the observance of safety guidelines.
“The PNP is authorized to immediately confiscate illegal firecrackers and make arrests when necessary so the industry is advised to just follow the law,” says Malaya.
Among the prohibited fireworks are: Piccolo, Watusi, Giant Whistle Bomb, Giant Bawang, Large Judas Belt, Super Lolo, Lolo Thunder, Atomic Bomb, Atomic Bomb Triangulo, Pillbox, Boga, Kwiton, Goodbye Earth, Goodbye Bading, Hello Columbia, and Goodbye Philippines.
Not Compromising Tradition
The DILG Secretary says that the decrease of firework-related injuries during the last three years attests that Filipinos can still celebrate the holidays without compromising tradition.
He says that recent reports have shown that a growing number of Filipino families are now using "pailaw" and other noise-making alternatives such as blowing horns or torotot to welcome the 2019 New Year, skipping using firecrackers altogether.
The DILG has also directed the BFP to intensify its Oplan Paalala/Iwas Paputok Campaign with the battlecry "Sa Halip na Paputok, Pito!" which encourages the public to use the whistle during the New Year revelry instead of firecrackers.
The DILG also urges the BFP to be strict in issuing fire safety clearance for fireworks display and fireworks exhibition to ensure that there will be no untoward incidents during such exhibitions.