DOH launches anti-firecracker drive in Dagupan

DAGUPAN CITY — The Department of Health (DOH) has urged the public anew to use alternative noisemakers and for parents to keep watch on their children to prevent injuries due to firecrackers on New Year’s Eve.

“We are continuously communicating to the public the dangers of firecrackers. The DOH is advocating alternative and equally enjoyable ways of celebrating the holidays and welcoming the New Year without the risk of physical harm. I enjoin everyone to participate in the Iwas Paputok Campaign of DOH,” DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III said on Thursday at the launching of the 2019 Iwas Paputok campaign here.

Duque said the DOH has tallied a total of 338 cases of firecracker injuries and two cases of firecracker ingestion nationwide from Dec. 21, 2018 to Jan. 5, 2019. Of the total number of cases, 52 were from Region 1 (Ilocos).

“Children aged five to nine were among the most vulnerable during the celebration of the holiday season last year,” he added.

The most number of injuries recorded during last year’s Iwas Paputok surveillance by the DOH included afflictions to the hand, eye, head, leg, and arm.

Injuries were caused by both legal and prohibited firecrackers. Most of the recorded injuries were caused by kwitis, luces, piccolo and boga, and triangle.

Duque said the public instead should use alternative noisemakers, such as karaoke and organizing fireworks display in an open area instead of using firecrackers.

“Lahat ng paputok ay nakakadisgrasya. Kaya iwasan po natin ang paggamit ng mga paputok (All firecrackers are unsafe. So, we should avoid using them) Community fireworks displays, street parties, musical concerts, horns, among others, are safer and more festive alternatives to lighting up firecrackers,” he said.

The DOH has sponsored a competition “Alternatibong Paingay” at the Dagupan City National High School-Special Program in the Arts building. Participants from various barangays and schools showcased their creativity by presenting materials that can be a substitute to firecrackers during the New Year’s Eve celebration.

Meanwhile, Duque has urged the local government units to pass ordinances against the use of firecrackers in accordance with Executive Order 28, or the Regulation and Control of the Use of Firecracker and Other Pyrotechnic Devices, which was signed by President Rodrigo Duterte in June 2017.

Among the banned firecrackers are Piccolo, Super Lolo, Atomic Triangle, Large Judas Belt, Large Bawang, Pillbox, Bosa, Goodbye Philippines, Bin Laden, Mother Rocket, Lolo Thunder, Coke in Can, Atomic Bomb, Five Star, Pla-Pla, Giant Whistle Bomb, Kabasi and Watusi.

Duque added that Code White alert status would be declared on December 21 in all government hospitals.

“Code White means all human resources for health are on call anytime even during their day-off. They will help complement the response to emergency cases. In case there are unusually high number of cases, hospitals will mobilize all their health workers,” he said.

Also present during the event were Mayor Marc Brian Lim, Department of the Interior and Local Government Ilocos regional director James Fadrilan, Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) regional director Senior Supt. Jonas Silvano, BFP Pangasinan and Dagupan City chiefs, and DOH Region 1 Center for Health and Development. Liwayway Yparraguirre and Hilda Austria / PNA –