Total firecracker ban pushed

BAGUIO CITY – Regional and city health authorities, police and fire officers collectively agreed to push for a total ban of use, sale and manufacture of firecrackers through a city ordinance in the wake of injuries caused by legally-bought pyros.

Self-imposed discipline and cooperation is also recommended.

These were discussed during the assessment Kapihan at the DOH regional training center last Thursday morning.

Department of Health (DOH-CAR) Officer-in- Charge (OIC) Dr. Amelita Pangilinan; Pangilinan rued that firecracker injuries occurred despite the scare tactics employed; graphics showing gory details of human body devastation due to minute or gigantic firecrackers.

Earlier campaigns against firecrackers showed how to properly use said pyros, with more injuries treated in the hospitals.

A comparative report yielded a regional count of fireworks and firecracker related injuries of 70 in 2014 and 61 in 2015. Reports in 2011, 2012 and 2013 showed 50 to 58 cases per year.

Provinces that registered a decrease in said incidents were Abra, from 29 in 2014 to 25 to 2015; Kalinga, from 1 case in 2014 to zero in 2015; and Mountain Province; 6 in 2014 and a single case in 2015.

No data is registered in 2014 for Ifugao, and a case in 2015; while Apayao had 14 cases in 2014 and 2015; Baguio City’s 9 cases in 2014 upped to 11 in 2015. There was an increase from 6 cases in 2014 to 9 in 2015, in Benguet Province. Said cases were reported Dec. 21 2015 up to midnight of Jan. 5, 2016.

City Health Officer Rowena Galpo reported that aside from the 11 cases, there is a case from Itogon, Benguet and another from Urdaneta, Pangasinan. Monitoring was done in seven sentinel hospitals in the city.

A signature campaign for a total firecracker ban is ongoing until January 28; it was known from Fire Officer Jesus Yango.

Baguio City Police Officer (BCPO) Deputy Director Laureano Alexis Marinas reported that there were no incidents of indiscriminate firing among soldiers and policemen including private gun-owners and security guards. This, Marinas said, is attributed to an active campaign; headed by City Mayor Mauricio Domogan. Gun muzzle taping was also done.

The Commission on Election (COMELEC) ban for gun replicas also apply, Marinas said.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), represented by Atty. Samuel Gallardo, advocates responsible consumerism. Monitoring for firecrackers was done, including the imposition of safety stickers for other holiday materials, including toys and lights. Penalties await violators, he said.

Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) Regional Office representative Josesito Dollente reported that there were no firecracker-related fire incidents. Fire incidents were mostly due to faulty electrical wiring, unattended cooking and negligence over lighting materials.

From the Police Regional Office (PRO-COR), P/SInsp. Gemma Braganza of the Police Community Relations reported that a total of P76,410.00 worth of firecrackers was confiscated with 221 regional operations. Abra yielded P21,140 worth; Apayao – P530; Baguio – P52,425; Kalinga – P2,315; while Benguet, Ifugao and Mt. Province had no confiscations done.

Though thankful for a zero-casualty report, Dr. Pangilinan clarified that the 61 cases may still increase pending reports from other areas. She is hopeful that firecracker-related injuries further decrease next year.

The theme for the no-firecracker campaign is, “Sa Ingay Walang Sablay, Sa Paputok Goodbye Kamay, Kaya ‘Wag Pasaway.”/Julie G. Fianza


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