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PNP to enforce firecracker ban ahead of holiday season

Philstar.com
PNP to enforce firecracker ban ahead of holiday season
President Duterte, who imposed the ban in Davao City when he was mayor, said firecrackers pose risks to people’s safety and health since they cause injuries.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — As it did in 2020, police will be banning the use of firecrackers and similar devices this Christmas season, the chief of the Philippine National Police said.

In a statement sent to reporters Tuesday morning, Police Gen. Dionardo Carlo said that this came as part of the PNP high command's Operational Guidelines to ensure safe and peaceful celebration of the Yuletide season.

“The PNP will make sure that the provisions on regulating, manufacturing and distributing firecrackers will be strictly implemented based on Executive Order No. 28 that provides for the Regulation and Control of the Use of Firecrackers and other Pyrotechnic Devices,” Carlos said.

“The PNP will enforce the provisions of Executive Order No. 28 to the letter,” Carlos also said as he reiterated the full support of the PNP to Department of Health in promoting safety in the celebration of the holiday season.

EO 28 bans individuals from using firecrackers or setting up their own fireworks displays, a cultural tradition Filipinos are accustomed to during “events of personal, religious, cultural, and national importance,” especially during New Year’s Eve or even Chinese New Year.

Local government units agreed to ban firecrackers last Christmas. As a result, the DOH reported an 85% dip in injuries linked to firecrackers.

Carlos in his statement Tuesday said that each police station will coordinate with their respective local government unit to identify and monitor the designated firecracker zones.

These zones shall be carefully inspected in coordination with public safety agencies such as the Bureau of Fire Protection and local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

“The PNP is serving fair warning to manufacturers and retailers not to engage in the distribution of illegal firecrackers, at the risk of confiscation and arrest,” Carlos said.

Firecracker alternatives urged

Earlier this week, environmental group EcoWaste Coalition yesterday renewed its call for a nationwide ban on the sale and use of firecrackers amid the threat of the COVID-19 variant Omicron.

“Banning the production, importation, distribution, sale and use of firecrackers will reduce the number of firecracker-related injuries, as well as reduce environmental pollution associated with the New Year revelry,” EcoWaste chemical safety campaigner Thony Dizon said.

“The enforcement of such a measure will also be crucial in light of the threat posed by the new Omicron COVID variant,” Dizon added.

The PNP on Tuesday also encouraged the public if possible to use safe alternatives in the celebration of the holidays. Carlos said the PNP also supports LGU initiatives to establish community fireworks displays in every barangay to do away with possible firecracker-related incidents.

Christmas gatherings discouraged

Carlos in his weekly press conference earlier Monday also discouraged Filipinos from holding Christmas gatherings amid the threat of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

"The PNP discourages the holding of traditional Christmas gathering among family members, co-workers, schoolmates and circle of friends while the threat of COVID-19 and its variants continue to raise public health concerns," he said then.

"We reiterate the advise of health officials to limit Christmas gathering within the family bubble and close circle of vaccinated friends with due regard to minimum public health standards and safety protocol at all times."

To date, health authorities have recorded 2.8 million cases of the coronavirus in the Philippines. — Franco Luna

PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE
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