THE Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) yesterday said the country recorded zero firecracker-related fire incidents during the December holiday season, the first time that has happened since the establishment of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP).
Firecracker-related injuries to people were also down by 85% compared to the same period last year. Only 50 persons were injured by firecracker use from December 21 to January 1, 2021 compared to the 340 in December 2019. This new record is 89% lower than the five-year average from 2015-2019.
DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año lauded the combined efforts of the BFP, Philippine National Police (PNP), local government units (LGUs), and the Department of Health (DOH) for this significant accomplishment.
“Isang tagumpay ito hindi lamang sa ating Kagawaran ngayong taon, kundi pati na rin sa pamilyang Pilipino na nanatiling ligtas sa kanilang tahanan, malayo sa COVID-19 at sa panganib ng sunog dulot ng mga paputok,” said Año.
“Madalas, kabi-kabila ang sunog sa ating bansa dahil sa paputok. Ngayong taon, masasabi natin na dumating na ang ganap na pagbabago,” he said.
The DILG chief said this can be attributed to the intensified information campaign of the DILG and DOH on the use of firecrackers, the vigilance and hard work of the BFP and the PNP as well as the LGUs especially the Metro Manila Council, and the cooperation of the public.
“Maganda ang pasok ng Bagong Taon dahil walang napinsala ng sunog dahil sa paputok. Binabati ko ang BFP, PNP, DOH at LGUs pati na rin ang ating mga mamamayan sa inyong pagsisikap at kooperasyon dahil kaya naman pala nating magdiwang ng ligtas at masaya kahit walang paputok,” he said.
Año added that the BFP and PNP personnel did the rounds in barangays up until New Year’s Eve to remind the public to refrain from the use of firecrackers in their festivities to avoid unwanted injuries and accidents.
Further, the DILG Chief said there was a 52 percent decrease in fire incidents from other causes nationwide for the whole month of December 2020 tallying only 593 incidents compared to the 1,246 incidents in the same period last year.
A total of 37 were injured, including two BFP personnel, while ten perished during the said fire incidents involving mostly residential properties.
In the National Capital Region, a total of 4,417 fire-related incidents were reported from January 1 to December 31, 2020, which is 18.26% lower than the 5,404 tallied in the same period last year.
Meanwhile, Año said the DILG will make sure that P/SSgt Karen Borromeo will be dismissed from service for indiscriminately firing her hand gun in Malabon during the New Year’s festivities.
“It doesn’t matter if she was having an argument with her live-in partner or fired her hand gun to celebrate the New Year. What she did was against the law and she will be facing criminal and administrative sanctions and will be dismissed from the police service,” he said.
The DILG Chief said that they will not tolerate such behavior. “She does not belong in the police service,” he added.
Año also said there were no untoward incidents during New Year’s Eve until January 1 in all jail facilities nationwide of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology.
He said this is largely due in part to the efforts of jail officers and some officials who spent New Year’s Eve guarding the jail cells to ensure security and safety among the persons deprived of liberty.