DOH zero-firecracker injury to greet 2018
MANILA --- The Department of Health today announced it is aiming to achieve zero firecracker-related injuries in celebrating the New Year’s Eve as the nation welcomes 2018. The DOH, together with its National Capital Regional (NCR) Office, the Department of Education, Philippine National Police, Bureau of Fire Protection, City of Manila and EcoWaste Coalition, said this during the press conference that informed the public about their readiness to handle the festivities and anticipate a minimal, if not zero, injuries, throughout the whole season. “Oplan: Iwas Paputok. Fireworks Display ang Patok! Makiisa sa Community Fireworks sa Inyong Lugar” remains to be this year’s slogan in keeping with the newly approved Executive Order No. 28 entitled, “Providing for the Regulation and Control of the Use of Firecrackers and other Pyrotechnic Devices.” The Executive Order recently signed by President Rodrigo Duterte stipulates that the use of firecrackers shall be confined to community fireworks display to minimize the risk of injuries and casualties. Conduct of community fireworks display will also be continuously promoted as a strategy to, at least maintain the low injury status in the country. From December 21, 2016 to January 5, 2017, a total of 630 fireworks-related injuries were recorded by DOH sentinel sites. These are 319 cases (34%) less than the five-year (2011-2015) average and 292 cases (32%) less compared to the same time period of last year. Of the total 630 cases, 627 were from fireworks injuries and 3 cases of fireworks/firecrackers ingestion. There was NO death reported. The cooperation among local government units was seen to have contributed to the lowering of firecracker-related injuries. Hence, one of the focus of the ongoing campaign is promotion of the use of alternative means of merrymaking and avoidance of the use of firecrackers especially by school children, which is also one of the provisions stated under the law. The DOH recognizes that this campaign involves various agencies. Close collaboration and conduct of strategic advocacy activities with different stakeholders is necessary. As a result, the health department is intensifying its campaign against the use of firecrackers despite the fact that it is one of the Filipino traditions in celebration of the yuletide season especially New Year, making it difficult to undo. The DOH also developed a communication plan to be disseminated publicly with messages revolving around the avoidance of the use of firecrackers among children. This must be reinforced by the parents, for the welfare and safety of their children must emanate from them. “Be safe during the holidays. I encourage everyone to join community fireworks displays in your barangays. In the unfortunate event of an injury, seek immediate medical treatment for all fireworks-related ones,” Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III declared. “The DOH commends its partner agencies for enthusiastically working with us towards ensuring a peaceful, prosperous and injury-free celebration as we welcome the coming new year in the country and the rest of the world,” the Secretary concluded.