LGUs urged to establish guidelines regulating use of fireworks and pyrotechnic devices

LGUs urged to establish guidelines regulating use of fireworks and pyrotechnic devices
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AFTER a fireworks warehouse blast that caused a fire in Lapu-Lapu City and claimed four lives earlier this month, a local health official has urged local government units (LGUs) to go the extra mile in implementing fireworks safety in welcoming the new year.

Dr. Eugenia Mercedes Cañal, regional epidemiologist at the Department of Health Central Visayas (DOH 7) Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit, urged town and city officials to establish guidelines regulating and controlling the use of fireworks and other pyrotechnic devices.

She said one effective measure for LGUs to follow is to set up a designated common area in their respective localities for fireworks displays during the New Year celebration.

"We encourage local government units (LGUs) to designate a specific place for a display area. Fireworks should not be set off just anywhere, such as in streets or near homes; instead, there should be a designated fireworks area," she said last December 19, 2023.

Firecrackers-related injuries

Cañal said that for this year's holiday season, they aim to record zero injuries related to firecrackers and fireworks.

However, she admitted that it is impossible to reach zero incidents, but they at least want to decrease the number of incidents from last year.

In 2022, they tallied 83 cases of firecrackers-related injuries from rural health units and city health offices in Central Visayas.

Cañal did not provide a breakdown of where these cases were found but instead gave an order of where most of these cases occurred. Cebu Province led in the region, followed by Cebu City. Negros Oriental was third on the list, followed by Lapu-Lapu City.

Cañal said among the cases logged last year, the leading causes were kwitis, followed by triangle, and the third was unknown types of firecrackers.

She said other items included lantaka (or the modern version of bamboo cannon), whistle bomb, magic fountain, Judas' belt, hotdog, and crying cow.

Safety measures

To ensure a safe holiday season, Cañal issued reminders on firecracker safety, emphasizing the risks, especially for children.

She discouraged children from using firecrackers and urged everyone to stay clear of exploding ones for safety.

The health officer emphasized the danger of picking up used firecrackers due to potential residual risks.

She said in case of injuries, seeking immediate medical treatment is crucial to address issues promptly and ensure a safe celebration environment.

Cañal highlighted the high incidence of children as victims in firecracker incidents, thus, parents should take measures to ensure the safety of their children.


In a separate interview on December 12, Senior Fire Officer 2 Wendell Villanueva, information officer of the Cebu City Fire Office, echoed the call of health officials, saying that the public can still celebrate without causing harm.

Villanueva said to prevent firecracker-related fire emergencies, people can make noise using "torotots" or horn-shaped trumpets.

Earlier this month, the firearms and explosives office of the Philippine National Police released a list of illegal fireworks that should be avoided for a safer and more enjoyable celebration.

Firecrackers exceeding the legal limit of 0.3 grams of gunpowder and those with improper fuses are strictly prohibited.

These include watusi, poppop, five star, pla-pla, piccolo, giant bawang, goodbye bading, goodbye Philippines, atomic bomb, super lolo, hello Colombia, Judas' belt, giant, whistle bomb, atomic triangle, mother rocket, goodbye Delima, goodbye Napoles, coke-in-can, super Yolanda, pillbox star, kabasi, and hamas.

Under Republic Act 7183, any person caught manufacturing, selling, distributing, or using illegal firecrackers and pyrotechnic devices will face a fine of P20,000 to P30,000, imprisonment of six months to one year, cancellation of license and business permit, and confiscation of inventory stocks.

Additionally, Executive Order 28 issued in 2017 promulgates stricter rules and regulations on the use of firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices to prevent injuries and casualties recorded every year.


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