GenSan’s campaign vs firecrackers gaining ground

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 2 January) – The local government’s campaign against firecrackers has started to gain ground in this city with the “minimal” firecracker-related injury cases recorded in the area during the recent Christmas and New Year celebrations.

Dr. Edgardo Sandig, City Health Office (CHO) chief, said Thursday they have so far recorded eight firecracker-related injuries in the city since they started their monitoring last December 21 as part of the implementation of the Department of Health (DOH)-led “Iwas Paputok” campaign.

The monitoring, which will end on January 6, complements with the “code white alert” earlier directed by the DOH in all hospitals and health units in the country.

“The firecracker explosions were noticeably fewer during the New Year’s Eve revelries and many residents also shunned from buying firecrackers and fireworks for the celebrations,” he said.

The CHO earlier recorded five firecracker-related injuries in the city during the Christmas Eve celebration.

Sandig said three more cases, two of which involved adults, were added to the list during the New Year’s Eve revelries.

All firecracker victims only suffered minor burns and blast injuries and none of them required any amputation, he said.

He said they did not receive any official report regarding injuries caused by stray bullets in connection with the Christmas and New Year celebrations.

“There were recorded stab wounds, injuries from vehicular accidents and a gunshot wound but it was considered an isolated incident,” Sandig said.

The official credited the reduction of the recorded firecracker-related injuries in the city to the local government and DOH’s intensified campaign against the use of firecrackers and fireworks.

The DOH’s campaign had combined negative and positive approaches in its “Iwas Paputok” campaign, which started in late November.

The negative approach uses gory pictures of firecracker injuries in the education and advocacy activities regarding firecrackers and fireworks while the positive approach focuses on subtle and information-based campaign materials.

“But we should really aim for zero firecracker injury next time. I think we can achieve that through more massive awareness and law enforcement efforts,” Sandig said.

He added that the local government should consider revising the provisions of Ordinance No. 11, which bans the selling and use of firecrackers within the city, to make it more effective in addressing the problem.