GENERAL SANTOS CITY(MindaNews/09 November) — The Department of Health (DOH) in Region 12 or the Soccsksargen Region is set to launch a massive advocacy and information campaign in various parts of the region against the use of firecrackers during the Christmas season.
Dr. Marilyn Convocar, DOH Region 12 director, said they have started their preparations for the campaign, which is mainly aimed to reduce the cases of firecracker and firework injuries in the area during the Christmas and New Year revelries.
She said they are currently coordinating with local government health offices and rural health units in the region for the launching of the campaign.
Region 12 covers the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.
“As early as now, we’re already making the necessary preparations, especially the formulation of strategies to make our campaign more effective,” she said in a radio interview.
The DOH launched “Aksyon: Paputok Injury Reduction” or APIR in December last year to highlight its campaign against the use of firecrackers and fireworks towards a safe holiday celebration.
The campaign reiterates the DoH’s Oplan Iwas Paputok that was started in 1994 to monitor the use of firecrackers, particularly from December 21 to January 4, to minimize the morbidity and mortality from firecracker and firework injuries.
In South Cotabato, local health personnel are also planning to launch much earlier their campaign against the use of firecrackers and fireworks.
Dr. Rogelio Aturdido, South Cotabato health officer, said they are currently preparing the distribution of information and education materials for the campaign.
“We’re starting this early to drum up enough awareness and support from various sectors in our local communities,” he said.
Aturdido said they deemed it necessary to launch a wider and more intensified campaign against firecrackers and fireworks after the province posted a total of 54 injuries during last year’s Christmas and New Year celebrations.
Last year’s injury figures from firecrackers and fireworks increased by 18 percent compared to the recorded cases in 2010.
Of the 54 injury cases, 24 involved children aged 10 years old and below, the Integrated Provincial Health Office reported.
It said the youngest victim was five years old while the oldest was 72 years old.
Piccolo, which is a banned firecracker, posted the major cause of injuries, accounting for 27 cases. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)