Dr. Shelbay Blanco, cluster head of Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (RESU) of DOH-7, said health officials are promoting the institutionalization of community-based fireworks display as an alternative to the use of firecrackers.
AP/Aaron Favila, file
DOH wants community fireworks display institutionalized
May B. Miasco (The Freeman) - December 7, 2018 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — Regional health authorities are aiming for “zero injury” this Christmas and New Year season.

The Department of Health (DOH) in Central Visayas relaunched on Wednesday its anti-firecracker campaign dubbed “Iwas Paputok” to help minimize the risks and harmful effects of using firecrackers.

Dr. Shelbay Blanco, cluster head of Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (RESU) of DOH-7, said health officials are promoting the institutionalization of community-based fireworks display as an alternative to the use of firecrackers.

He urged local officials and authorities to regulate strictly the selling of fireworks or firecrackers and to endorse the holding of community fireworks display, an initiative which started in 2017.

If these are imposed properly, Blanco said firecracker-related injuries will surely reduce.

The policy confining the use of firecrackers to community fireworks display is compliant with Executive Order 28 signed on June 20, 2017, which stipulates the regulation and control of the use of firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices.

This policy was born out of the best practices imposed in Davao City, governed by then mayor and now President Rodrigo Duterte, after the city has been declared injury-free for totally banning firecrackers since 2002.

DOH data from 2016 and 2017 showed a 27 percent drop in firecracker-related injuries nationwide. In Central Visayas, the decrease was noted at 16.6 percent.

Blanco said most of these cases were under age group between 10 and 14 years old.

Blanco clarified that DOH-7 is not part of the enforcement team against firecrackers, saying the agency’s task is to monitor reported injuries or cases.

Surveillance usually starts on the first dawn of Simbang Gabi and ends on January 5.

As practiced by many, people commonly use firecrackers to scare off evil spirits and welcome good energy and luck. (FREEMAN)

FIREWORKS DISPLAY
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