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DILG targets zero firecracker casualty

WITH no firecracker-related incidents reported in the country two weeks into the traditional New Year revelry, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has urged the public to go for zero injuries in line with the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP)’s “Oplan Paalala: Iwas Paputok” program.

Welcoming the next year with a bang, is the Filipinos’ way of celebrating the occasion believing that the practice drives away bad spirits.

According to DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya, on top of the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic, the department’s goal is to go for zero firecracker-related injuries this year.

“It is the tradition of Filipinos to usher in the New Year with fireworks as families indulge in their media noche (New Year’s Eve feast). However, the pandemic and the new normal entails adjustments to ensure everyone is safe at home together,” Malaya said.

The DILG official also appealed to the Filipino people to give discipline priority for a safe family and secured country.

“Ito po ang ating regalo’t ambag para iwas peligro at mapayapang pagsalubong ng bagong taon,” he said.

BFP Senior Insp. Bayani D. Zambrano warned that any form of fireworks display will be prohibited.

He said the only exception are community fireworks shows in designated areas set by the local government units (LGUs) .

“Patuloy po tayong gumagawa ng information campaign bawat barangay pinapasok natin ‘yan. Umiikot ang mga bumbero natin upang ipaalala sa komunidad na dapat po tayong umiwas sa mga bagay na nagsasanhi ng sunog,” the BFP official said.

Malaya said this time, the zero casualty target is attainable noting that there were only four fire-cracker related incidents reported from December 31 to January 1 of this year, a significant drop from previous years.

He said that based on data from the PNP, 307 firecracker-related incidents nationwide were recorded in January 2019 which is 67 percent lower than the 929 recorded incidents in 2016. In 2018, there were 449 incidents while in 2017, there were 652.

“There has been a steady decline for the past three years and we can sustain that trend if we remain persistent with our efforts to implement laws and regulations on the use of firecrackers such as Republic Act 7183 and Executive Order No. 28,” Malaya said.

Among the prohibited fireworks are: Piccolo, Watusi, Giant Whistle Bomb, Giant Bawang, Large Judas Belt, Super Lolo, Lolo Thunder, Atomic Bomb, Atomic Bomb Triangulo, Pillbox, Boga, Kwiton, Goodbye Earth, Goodbye Bading, Hello Columbia, and Goodbye Philippines.