EVEN the “torotot” and whistle, which have long been pushed as alternative to firecrackers, are not safe to use this holiday season in the time of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) as blows on these instruments release respiratory droplets that could transmit the disease.
Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III on Thursday, December 10, 2020, discouraged the use of “torotot” and whistles to welcome the new year.
Instead, he said the public may beat drums, blow car horns or use various household items to make noise on New Year’s eve.
Firecrackers are still regulated while the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) is studying proposals to ban karaoke since singing also releases more respiratory droplets that may carry Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19.
Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Debold Sinas on Thursday ordered all field units to start confiscating firecrackers being sold on the streets without permits to prevent any untoward incidents such as fire.
However, he clarified that those selling firecrackers would not be arrested.
“Naka-quarantine pa rin tayo, nasa GCQ pa rin tayo, so ibig sabihin marami pa rin bawal at isa ‘yang firecrackers na ‘yan bawal natin at may mga instances na rin marami tayong mga bata na nalalason kapag naglalaro ng firecrackers at marami nasusugatan,” he said in a press conference in Camp Crame.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said there is no total ban on fireworks and firecrackers, but authorities will continue the implementation of Executive Order No. 28 series of 2017 which regulates the use of firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices in the country.
DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said law enforcers will run after unlicensed fireworks dealers and sellers and those selling banned firecrackers which includes 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 Colombia and goodbye Philippines.
“Let’s wait for the President to make the decision. In the meantime, we don’t have a total ban. We will just implement the provisions of EO 28 which is the current policy,’’ Malaya said.
President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday said he was planning to impose a total ban on firecrackers by 2021.
On karaoke, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said the IATF is still studying a proposal to ban its use among those who are not from the same household. (Third Anne Peralta-Malonzo / SunStar Philippines)