GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 3 Dec) – The Department of Health (DOH) in Region 12 is targeting to achieve “zero-casualty” in terms of firecracker-related injuries during the Christmas season through its enhanced campaign against the use of firecrackers and fireworks in the area.
Dr. Marilyn Convocar, DOH Region 12 director, said Monday they have started the posting and distribution of campaign materials on the agency’s “Aksyon: Paputok Injury Reduction” or APIR to highlight its campaign against the use of firecrackers and fireworks during the Christmas and New Year revelries.
“We should take care of ourselves and make sure that all our fingers are still intact and complete by the start of the New Year,” she said, explaining the campaign’s message.
Convocar said they are presently implementing the campaign throughout the region in coordination with local government health offices and rural health units.
Region 12, which is also known as the Soccsksargen Region, covers the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.
The DOH central office launched the APIR campaign in December last year to help promote 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 Dec. 21 to Jan. 4, to minimize the morbidity and mortality from fireworks and firecrackers as well as injuries.
Jane Ventura, DOH-12 information officer, said they are presently posting tarpaulins that depict the plight of fireworks and firecracker victims in strategic public places.
She said they tapped the Department of Education to help enhance the campaign by educating schoolchildren and students regarding the perils of using fireworks and firecrackers.
The agency has also linked up with the Department of Trade and Industry, Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) to ensure proper implementation of government regulations regarding the selling and distribution of fireworks and firecrackers, she said.
Ventura said the BFP was specifically tasked to conduct fire safety orientations to fireworks and firecracker vendors and establish display areas for them.
She said the PNP will be responsible for the monitoring and enforcement aspect, specifically the confiscation of illegal or banned items.
Based on the government’s regulations, the selling and distribution of firecrackers and fireworks containing gunpowder measuring to more than a third of a teaspoon are strictly prohibited.
Among the firecrackers that had failed such standard but have remained available in the markets are pla-pla, bin laden, big triangulo, super lolo, goodbye Philippines, goodbye world and piccolo. (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)