Aquino meets officials in preparation for New Year revelry-A A +A
Monday, December 31, 2012
PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III on Sunday met with concerned government agencies to know their preparations and security measures for the coming New Year revelry.
Officials from the Department of Health (DOH), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), the Philippine National Police (PNP), and the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) briefed the President in Malacanang regarding their measures to ensure fewer injuries and zero-casualties due to firecracker-use.
First to report was Health Undersecretary Teodoro Herbosa who said that the DOH has improved its monitoring of firework-related injuries by going online.
He said starting last December 21, some 50 hospitals have been reporting to the DOH online regarding firecracker-related injuries. Based on their data, the number of cases this year is still lower by 20 percent for the similar period last year, which was at 216.
But he noted that the final number of injuries will be known until after January 5.
Herbosa said there have been 171 firecracker-related injuries reported as of December 29, 42 percent of the victims were children ages 6 to 10 years old.
On Sunday, this number rose to 173 with a one-year-old boy who accidentally ingested piccolo, which is a banned firecracker.
Among the injuries sustained, piccolo remains to be the number one cause with 103 or 60 percent, followed by kwitis with 14; five-star with 11; triangle with seven; and unknown firecrackers with six.
All in all, 134 or 78 percent of the injuries were caused by banned firecrackers. Piccolo had been banned by the DOH since 2007, when it zoomed to the top of most harmful firecrackers that year.
Also in the meeting, President Aquino instructed concerned government agencies to coordinate efforts in strictly enforcing Republic Act 7183 that regulates the sale, manufacture and distribution of fireworks.
DILG Undersecretary Rafael Santos said the department is coordinating with the local government units (LGUs) by issuing memorandum circulars for them to conduct information campaigns and to control the use of firecrackers by designating areas where these can be sold and used.
The President questioned why large-sized firecrackers such as Goodbye Philippines and Bin Laden are still being sold in the market despite the ban.
He ordered the PNP to intensify its campaign to stop the sale of banned firecrackers to ensure that the cases of firecracker injuries will be lowered.
So far, the PNP said it has confiscated some P11.9-million worth of illegal firecrackers.
Policemen are also sealing their guns to prevent indiscriminate firing on New Year.
As instructions to the BFP, President Aquino asked the agency to identify areas that are prone to fire due to firecrackers.
This aims to lessen the number of fire incidents since the BFP is prepared for any eventuality.
The BFP has joined the clamor for a ban on firecracker use noting that it is one of the major causes of fires.
The agency also warned against the use of sky lanterns.
“The Bureau of Fire Protection would like to appeal the ban of firecrackers because it is also one of the major causes of fires…. We have this Oplan Paalala or Oplan Iwas Paputok which is a campaign wherein we discourage the use of firecrackers,” he said. (Jill Beltran/HDT/Sunnex)