DOH hopes Duterte signs firecracker ban before June

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 02 2017 05:15 PM | Updated as of Jan 02 2017 06:05 PM

A man injured by a firecracker is treated by doctors at the Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center in Manila early on January 1, 2017, after new year's celebrations. Noel Celis, AFP

The Department of Health (DOH) is hoping President Rodrigo Duterte signs the executive order (EO) on the proposed nationwide firecracker ban before June 2017.

"We’re hoping before June this year so that it will also prepare the industry not to produce anymore and prepare law enforcement agencies so that they can put in place the monitoring system to ensure implementation," Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial said in an interview with ANC's Headstart on Monday.

She revealed that they proposed to the president that individual or household use of firecrackers be banned. She defined firecrackers as those that are lit to make noise.

Meanwhile, their proposal would allow pyrotechnics or fireworks, provided that they are used in common community display areas, not in individual households.

She added, aside from the injuries people risk during New Year's Eve celebrations, this would would also help authorities reduce the chances of firecrackers causing fire.

"If you have a regulated area in the community, then the Bureau of Fire Protection, the police can actually supervise the fireworks display and therefore limit the injuries and accidents following that," she said.

The DOH reported a 60% decrease in fireworks-related cases--from 874 in 2015 to only 350 in 2016. This is significantly lower than the yearly average from 2005 to 2015 of 1,000.

Ubial attributed this to a collective effort by many stakeholders, including the police and the media, in spreading the campaign against the use of firecrackers.

She added, people thought the EO on a firecracker ban had already been signed, and many of them did not buy nor use firecrackers as they rung in 2017.